Questions to Ask During a Maternity Hospital Tour
questions to ask during a maternity hospital tour, labor and delivery, questions to ask the nurse

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

If you’re planning on having your baby at a hospital, it’s important to know where you are going, where to park, and what your hospital is going to be like when you’re having your baby. Signing up for a hospital tour is an absolute must-do during your pregnancy! Hospital tours are free, and setting up a time to visit is easy to do! A lot of hospitals have their tour times listed on their website that you can sign up for, or you can call your hospital to reserve your spot. Also, your partner should definitely go with you. If he is going to be driving and will be at your baby’s birth, he needs to know where to go and what to expect.

Hospital tours usually last 20-30 minutes so they aren’t very long. A labor and delivery nurse or a hospital educator will walk you through the hospital and tell you what you can expect, from admission to discharge. During your tour, it’s important to ask questions. The nurse or hospital educator will definitely provide lots of important and valuable information, however you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your own questions. Every hospital is different so you will want to know what your hospital’s standards and policies are. If you aren’t sure what questions you should ask, here is a list that I’ve prepared for you below that you can pick and choose from. Hope they help!

Questions to Ask

Logistics & Room Information

  1. Are all labor and delivery rooms private or just some?
  2. Are the bathrooms private or shared?
  3. How likely is it that I can get a private room?
  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, or 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 will we get?
  9. How many births take place at this hospital on average each day?
  10. What happens if the L&D floor is full and no private rooms are available? How often does that happen?
  11. Is this a teaching hospital? Do you utilize students or residents? Will they attend my labor and birth?
  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? Is it open 24/7? If not, what time does it open and close?
  17. How do you order food? What times does the kitchen 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. What labor and birthing equipment do you provide? For example, birth balls, peanut balls, squat bars, showers, tubs, rocking chair, birthing stool, etc.
  4. How comfortable is the hospital with natural births?
  5. What pain management options are available?
  6. What is the average time a laboring mother needs to wait for an epidural?
  7. Am I able to avoid having an IV upon entering, and have a Hep Lock instead? (Or nothing at all.)
  8. What sort of monitoring do you have? Do you have wireless fetal monitoring available? Can I give birth here without fetal monitors?
  9. How often are you fetal monitoring?
  10. 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 or do you have to rent them? If you don’t have them, can I bring and use mine?
  11. How many people are allowed in the delivery room? Is there a limit?
  12. Who should I give my birth plan to?
  13. 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?
  14. 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.)
  15. Will I be allowed to move around freely and get in the tub or shower during labor?
  16. Can I wear my own clothes during labor and birth?
  17. What is the induction rate at this hospital?
  18. What is the episiotomy rate at this hospital?
  19. What is the policy if you want to avoid an episiotomy?
  20. What is the cesarean rate at this hospital?
  21. What are your maternal and infant mortality rates at this hospital?
  22. How do you (and this hospital) feel about doulas?
  23. What are the policies on cameras and video cameras during labor, pushing, and birth? Are recording devices (like a video camera and tripod, cell phone, or digital camera) allowed in the delivery room or operating room (if you are getting a c-section)?
  24. 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.?
  25. Can I push/delivery my baby in the shower or in the tub?
  26. Will the hospital/on-call doctor go along with my birth plan if my midwife/doctor is not on-call?
  27. What’s the policy on delayed cord clamping?
  28. Do you work with a cord blood bank (if you’re considering banking your baby’s cord blood)? If not how can I arrange to transfer baby’s cord blood?
  29. Will this hospital allow me to take my placenta home (if you choose to do placenta encapsulation)?
  30. Can we delay all procedures/exams for baby for an hour for bonding time/skin-to-skin?
  31. Is your spouse/SO and doula allowed in the room for a c-section?
  32. If I have a c-section, will my baby be separated from me right after the procedure?

After Birth

  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. What is your rooming-in policy? Can my baby stay with me in my room during our stay instead of in the nursery?
  5. Can I choose to 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 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 and 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 generally occur? (Families are often allowed to stay 48-hours post vaginal delivery, and 4-days post c-section.)
  17. What follow-up support do you offer new parents? Can I call at any time if I have questions or need emotional support?

What question or questions would you ask on a tour?

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One thought 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. 😉

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