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Choosing the Right Hospital for Your Birth

Every expectant mom hopes for a perfect delivery experience. When it comes time for your baby to arrive, you want to make sure that you are birthing in a comfortable and calm environment. Choosing a hospital involves researching facilities, consulting your physician and developing a birthing plan that meets your needs for this important day.

RELATED: What to Include in Your Birth Plan

Choose Your Doctor First

Many times, the hospital where you deliver and the facility where your physician practices go hand-in-hand. Choose your doctor first, recommends Dr. Draion Burch, Pennsylvania-based obstetrician-gynecologist. “Wherever your physician delivers, is likely where you will need to deliver,” he says. While researching a doctor, make an appointment to tour the maternity ward at the hospitals where she is practicing.

Compare Your Birth Plan

It’s a good idea to document how you want to deliver your child. Compile a birth plan that includes your preferences for the birth. According to MedlinePlus, plans should include birthing positions, use of pain medications, postpartum care and amenities such as lighting or music. Inquire with the hospital about your preferences to ensure you will have the opportunity to meet the needs of your birth plan.

Know the Facts

When choosing a hospital for birth, women need to look at more than just the amenities, says Deena Blumenfeld, Pennsylvania-based Lamaze certified childbirth educator. Ask questions about the hospital’s statistics, such as the number of C-sections performed, rate for labor induction and percentage of mothers who receive epidurals during labor, recommends Blumenfeld. “The answers to these questions will help women make an informed choice about their place of birth,” she says.


Investigate Accommodations

As technology advances, so do birthing techniques and procedures. When choosing a hospital for your child’s delivery, research the equipment and technology used at each hospital’s maternity ward, recommends Dr. Erica Zelfand, family physician with Natura Integrative Medicine in Portland, Oregon. If you prefer to walk the halls while in labor, ask if the hospital has cordless fetal monitors. If you would like to video tape the birth, inquire about the technology available to assist with this request. Many hospitals also provide music players and special lighting that can help to calm you during delivery.

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