One of the most vital decisions a pregnant woman has to make is where to have the baby. Safety and expertise are high on the list of requests when choosing a hospital. Other factors to consider are location, the presence of a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), birthing options, and who will deliver the baby. Touring different labor and delivery locations allows patients to understand the options available better, so the best hospital can be chosen.
When contractions start, a woman will usually think about how far the drive to the hospital will be. For women preparing for a second or third delivery, the baby can come even faster, so time is of the essence. Choosing a hospital within a reasonable distance of the home is essential.
Are you my doctor?
Many women see a single doctor or group of doctors for prenatal care. Becoming familiar and comfortable with a healthcare provider is essential for many patients. This is why pregnant women should ensure the doctor seen for office visits has admitting privileges at the chosen hospital. Going to a different hospital not affiliated with the prenatal care provider is an option but requires more planning, such as transferring medical records.
Vaginal delivery, cesarean section, epidural, birthing tub, and labor ball are just a few options women may want available during labor. Although vaginal delivery is the plan for most women, in some cases, a Cesarean section may be required or become emergent. Pain relief options can vary from epidural to non-medication options such as massage. In the event of an epidural, learning about the anesthesiologist’s approach is important. A birthing tub or labor ball are other ways to manage pain and help with progression. Knowing all the options available ahead of time can be helpful for many women.
The importance of a NICU
All pregnant women desire a healthy baby, but sometimes complications can arise during delivery. If the baby needs additional care, a NICU is essential. Making sure the hospital offers this level of care, or can transfer patients to a nearby NICU quickly. For women who know ahead of time that the baby will be in the NICU, finding a level 4 unit is the safest approach to ensure expert care.
Every woman wants to be in excellent and capable hands during such an important event. Looking online to find out how well the hospital is rated is always a good idea. Another less formal approach is to ask friends and family who have accessed services at the hospital for an opinion. Selecting a 5-star hospital can offer pregnant women and partners peace of mind.
Time to deliver
Finding the right hospital is a task that should start well before contractions hit. Ask questions and make sure the answers provide enough information on which to base the final decision. With enough research, a close, safe, well-rated L&D can be found. Soon enough, the car will pull up to the selected hospital, and the baby will be on the way.