Questions to Ask During a Maternity Hospital Tour
Questions to Ask During a Maternity Hospital Tour | Baby Chick

By Nina Spears

The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®

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Nina Spears is the Co-Founder & CEO of Baby Chick, an online go-to resource for all things motherhood and the Founder & CEO of Bassett Baby Planning, the premier doula agency and resource center in Houston, TX for expecting and new mothers. Read More

Are you planning on having your baby in a hospital? If so, it’s important to sign up for a maternity hospital tour so that you know where you are going, where to park, and what your hospital is going to be like when you’re having your baby. The great thing is that hospital tours are free, and many hospitals have their tour times listed on their website. Most of them allow you to schedule your tour online or you can give them a call to set it up. It’s nice because they usually have all different times for you to be able to come in so you can find one that works best for you and your partner. And yes, your partner should go with you. If he’s the one that’s going to be driving you to the hospital, helping you with checking in, etc. he needs to know what to expect as well.

Thankfully, hospital tours usually last 20-30 minutes so you don’t have to worry about them taking all day. You can expect either a hospital educator or a labor & delivery nurse to will walk you around and show you everything from where to park and checking into to your postpartum/recovery room and being discharged. While you’re on your tour, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your guide will actually appreciate your questions and is happy to answer them. Asking good questions will also help the other guests think of things that you might not think of when preparing for your labor and delivery stay. A lot of families aren’t sure what questions they should be asking when they are on their maternity hospital tour so we have provided a massive list of all types of questions that you might want to ask. Pick the ones that you’re curious about and that apply most to you and your hospital. We hope they help!


Questions to Ask

Hospital Logistics & Room Information

  1. Are all labor and delivery rooms private or do some share rooms?
  2. Are the bathrooms private or shared?
  3. How likely is it that I can get a private room? Do I need to call in advance?
  4. What are the fees for private rooms? (May vary with different insurance plans.)
  5. Are all the rooms the same as the one(s) we’re being shown? Are some smaller/less renovated, etc?
  6. Will I be in one room during my entire stay, or will I be moved to a separate postpartum room?
  7. Will I have a private tub or shower for my postpartum room, or will I have to share?
  8. Will we have a TV in our L&D room and postpartum room? What channels do you have?
  9. How many births take place at this hospital on average each day?
  10. What happens if the L&D floor is full? How often does that happen?
  11. Is this a teaching hospital? Do you utilize students or residents? Will they attend my labor and birth? Can I request that they not attend if I don’t feel comfortable with them there?
  12. Are there any situations that may take me away from my birth partner?
  13. Is there good cell service in the L&D room and postpartum room?
  14. Is there wireless internet access?
  15. Can my spouse/significant other (SO) sleep in my room? What accommodations are there for them (cot, couch, recliner, etc.)? Can we bring our own blow up mattress?
  16. Where’s the cafeteria? When is it open? Is it open 24/7? If not, what time does it open and close and on what days?
  17. How do you order food? What times does the kitchen open and close?
  18. Is there a newborn intensive care unit (NICU)? What floor is it located on? Is it easy to access from the postpartum rooms?
  19. Where is the best place to park? How much does parking cost?
  20. Is there valet at your hospital? At what times?

Labor & Birth

  1. If I believe I am in labor, where will I initially be examined? Will I have to wait in a general waiting area, triage, or will I be brought to a private room?
  2. Will I be allowed to eat and/or drink during labor? Can I bring my own food?
  3. Do you have popsicles that I can eat? Or broth?
  4. What labor and birthing equipment do you provide? For example, birth balls, peanut balls, squat bars, showers, jetted tubs, rocking chair, birthing stool, etc.
  5. How comfortable is the hospital with natural births?
  6. What pain management options are available?
  7. What is the average time a laboring mother needs to wait for an epidural?
  8. Is there always an anesthesiologist on site?
  9. Am I able to avoid having an IV put in? Could I instead of a Hep Lock? (Or nothing at all.)
  10. What sort of monitoring do you have? Do you have wireless fetal monitoring available? Can I give birth here without fetal monitors?
  11. How often are you fetal monitoring?
  12. Do you have CD players/DVD players in the L&D rooms? Do you have an iPod station in the L&D rooms? Are they complimentary? If you don’t have them, can I bring and use mine?
  13. How many people are allowed in the delivery room at one time? Is there a limit?
  14. Who should I give my birth plan to?
  15. Will the nurse be comfortable with a birth plan that may include things they aren’t used to if my midwife/doctor has signed off on it?
  16. Will I be able to labor at my own pace or will I be put on a time limit? (Typically hospitals want you to dilate once centimeter an hour.)
  17. Will I be allowed to move around freely and get in the tub or shower during labor?
  18. Can I wear my own clothes during labor and birth?
  19. What is the induction rate at this hospital?
  20. What is the episiotomy rate at this hospital?
  21. What is the cesarean rate at this hospital?
  22. What are your maternal and infant mortality rates at this hospital?
  23. How do you (and this hospital) feel about doulas?
  24. What are the policies on cameras and video cameras during labor, pushing, and birth? Are recording devices (like a cell phone, video camera, or digital camera) allowed in the delivery room or operating room (if you are getting a c-section)?
  25. What positions do you allow mothers to give birth? Can I push in more ways than just on my back in stirrups? Can I push on my side, on hands and knees, squatting, etc.?
  26. Can I push/delivery my baby in the shower or in the tub?
  27. Will the hospital/on-call doctor go along with my birth plan if my midwife/doctor is not on-call?
  28. What’s the policy on delayed cord clamping?
  29. Can I donate or bank my baby’s cord blood when delivering at this hospital?
  30. Will this hospital allow me to take my placenta home (if you choose to do placenta encapsulation)?
  31. Can we delay all procedures/exams for baby for an hour for bonding time/skin-to-skin?
  32. Is your spouse/SO and doula allowed in the room for a c-section?
  33. If I have a c-section, will my baby be separated from me right after the procedure? Or can I do skin-to-skin?
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After Birth: Postpartum

  1. What is your policy on baby care immediately after birth? If my baby needs to be checked, weighed, or placed in a heater–will he/she be taken out of my room? Or will the examinations take place in my room? Will they allow immediate skin-to-skin contact?
  2. Can I have my child immediately placed skin-to-skin after a c-section?
  3. Are there any situations where my baby would need to be transferred to another facility?
  4. Can my baby room-in with us instead of being in the nursery?
  5. Can I breastfeed immediately after a c-section?
  6. What sort of breastfeeding support is available?
  7. Do you provide an industrial-strength hospital grade breast pump?
  8. Do you have a lactation consultant on staff at the hospital? Is she available at all times, 7 days a week?
  9. Does the hospital support supplementing breastfeeding with formula?
  10. Does the hospital support formula feeding?
  11. Do you give pacifiers to the babies in the nursery? Will I be asked/notified before doing so?
  12. Under what circumstances would formula be given to my baby? Will I be asked/notified first? Even in the middle of the night?
  13. What security measures are there? Do people have to be buzzed in, are there security guards, and is a device placed on my baby to make sure he/she can not leave the floor?
  14. Are there specific hours for visiting? Do you allow young children to visit?
  15. What kind of information will I go home with?
  16. What time of day does discharge usually occur? (Families are often allowed to stay 48-hours post vaginal delivery, and 4-days post c-section.)
  17. Do you follow-up with your patients? What new parents support do you offer? Can I call at any time if I have questions or need support?

What question or questions would you ask on a tour?

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10 thoughts on “Questions to Ask During a Maternity Hospital Tour

  1. This post was so helpful! I just had my first hospital tour a week ago (I’m expecting twins), and after doing a home birth last time, I was somewhat bewildered. I didn’t think to ask more than one question, and after reading this list, I have nearly thirty questions I want to ask. I believe I’ll be scheduling ANOTHER hospital tour. 😉

  2. I stumbled across this post and thank you so much for writing it! It definitely made me make a list for my tour next week. All of the info on your page has been very helpful!

  3. These were super helpful questions! I’m glad I stopped by, and also signed up! My hospital tour is next month, and after reading this post I feel like I’m completely prepaired. Thank you so much!

    1. Absolutely! Thank you for stopping by!

  4. I love this post! So informative!

    One thing I definitely would ask, and that’s because I’m paranoid and a pessimist, is what are the hospital’s procedures if a baby were lost or missing? Has there ever been a situation were babies were switched and not given to the right parent?

  5. We’re expecting in August, and I have to say that everything involving the hospital procedures is what has me the most stressed out. (Not that stressed, but if I were making a list, that would be #1.) Everything I know about giving birth comes from watching movies and the experiences of friends in the United States. So far, everything I’ve been told here is that I will be alone (except for baby) and laying on my back from the time I enter the hospital to the time I leave. However, the midwife in my village is a nurse who used to work at the hospital before she retired, and she has told me “ask.” Want to know the sex of the baby? Ask. Want to know what the hospital will send you home with? Ask. And I think that a lot of us going into this for the first time–regardless of the country–don’t ask. We just assume that they’ll do their job and we’ll do ours and it will all be fine. I don’t have my next appointment for another month–last appointment was at 17 weeks, next one at 27 weeks!–but I’m certainly planning on having a nice long chat with the doctor.

  6. I am a labor/delivery nurse and I usually give the hospital tour for our unit- I am glad to know that I am covering a lot of what is on this list. So many mommas (especially 1st time ones) don’t ask questions or don’t know what to ask- but I love it when they do because it can really start some good coversations! All it usually takes is for one mom in the group to ask a question- then others will feel more comfortable to chime in. Many times on our tours- it’s just me talking- and I wonder if I am giving them the info that they want/need 🙂 Thank you for putting this together!

  7. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is such a great and well thought out list! I literally just printed out the entire thing and plan to bring it with me to our hospital tour tomorrow! Can’t wait to see where our baby will be born and will be able to get all of our questions answered thanks to your help! So appreciated!!

    1. It’s our pleasure! Wishing you all the best for you and your baby’s birth!

  8. Thank you for the great questions! I had my 1st baby at home with a midwife, and the thought of all the different things involved at a hospital is pretty dauting, but your list makes me feel more prepared to go in and ask about what’s important to me. Home birth is so much simpler, but this list make the hospital seem do’able!😀 Thank you again

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