Hospital / Birthplace Tours — The Bump
September 2017 Moms

Hospital / Birthplace Tours

Is anyone planning to do a birthplace tour? For those who have already done the tour, any recommendations of things you might want to ask if the tour guide has not already covered the information?

Re: Hospital / Birthplace Tours

  • We just had our L&D tour yesterday. I highly reccommend doing a birthplace tour if your hospital offers it. Our tour was very informative! The L&D nurse went over practically every inch of the triage, delivery, and mother's rooms. Plus she had a lot of great tips and information that wasn't listed on the hospital website. 

    Some of of the things listed as provided for mothers in labor on the website, we learned weren't actually available in the triage or delivery rooms, such as showers for alternative pain relief. The L&D ward offered showers, but the require that any mom who is receiving any medications such as an epidural or pitocin must be tethered to fetal monitors in the bed in her room. The gym style showers offered on the L&D floor are only available for use if you're not yet in active labor.

    My reccommendations:

    - Do your homework before hand. Visit the hospital or birth center's website and review the information they have already posted there. 
    - Arrive early so you are not holding the rest of the tour group up. Plus then you have time to better acquaint yourself with the surroundings and to hit the bathrooms beforehand if you need to.
    - If the tour guide hasn't already covered the info, ask if they offer wireless fetal monitoring. Or if your birthplace requires fetal monitoring. Our hospital requires fetal monitoring at all times once the mom has been moved from triage to a delivery room. The cords for the monitor really restrict your ability to get up or move about. If our case I wouldn't be able to use the restroom without a nurse allowing me to be untethered from the corded fetal monitor. So if the ability to move about during labor is important to you, it's worth checking if wireless monitors are available.
    - If you have questions about cost / what items the birthplace charges on a per item rate and what things are included in the labor and delivery package, the tour is likely not the appropriate place to ask these questions. This is more of a billing / accounts related question. Get with your guide before or after the tour so they can help you get in contact with the appropriate finance office for those answers.
    - Just be courteous in general. On our tour there were only seats provided for the pregnant women. However many of the non-pregnant support folks who were fully capable of standing / walking along during the tour took many of the pregnant women's chairs. That was just rude.
  • Our hospital doesn't provide tours.. they just instructed us to watch the video online which is basically just interviews of previous patients and nurses on why it's the best place to have a baby. Which I don't care about that. I want to see my options for delivery!  Aka not much. A bed apparently. I don't even know about wireless monitoring. Prob not. 

    They do apparently provide peanut balls in addition to yoga balls.

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  • I'm using the same hospital as we did with our son. Omg I love that place! They do private tours and the tour lady was perfect for the job! It made me feel so much better knowing the layout and seeing how the process generally works. My biggest concern was just them respecting my birth plan and still being supportive. I had a horrible experience with my daughter. They were so sweet and caring there I had no desire to leave! Lol 
  • One of the big things I didn't think to ask but was glad they explained were the food options at the hospital -- how ordering works for the moms and what's available at different times of day and night for dads/kids/family/friends.
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  • We had one when DS was born, and will do it again now, we've moved since then to the other side of the state.  Ask about whatever you want to know- how do they handle birth plans (we didn't have one previously, tbh)?  
    • Do they allow water births?  
    • Do they have birthing tubs, or can you bring your own?  Showers? 
    •  How does it work for having visitors?  What if there are people you *don't* want in your room?  (This happens more than you think.  They will block anyone you don't want from being able to go in.  L&D and Mom & Baby floors are LOCKED DOWN, at least in my area).  
    • Can you eat/ drink?  
    • How many people can be in the room with you?  Is there somewhere for your SO/ DH/ partner to relax/ sleep?
    • What happens if you need a C/S?  Is there a NICU if there's an emergency?
    • Do they support supplementing with formula until your milk comes in?  What if you decide to exclusively pump, will they provide a pump for you?  Will they support FFing?  (It took almost 8h for my son to get formula by the time the "dr's order" was approved and sent in.  We will be bringing some of the tiny bottles with us this time.  I plan to EP again, but it took several days for my milk to come in.  My baby won't be hungry in the interim.)
    • Is there a policy about photography/ videos of the birth?  
    You can google and find plenty more stuff, but these are generally the things I heard the most about when I was pregnant with DS1.  
    DS1: Born 11.18.15
    DS2: EDD- 09.08.17

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  • @wannabeamongoose Oh, my.  That's quite the list of questions.  As someone in that link pointed out, a lot of the general questions moms have will probably be answered on the tour anyway, but it never hurts to have some in mind if you think they're less common.

    Which brings me to something I forgot- check and see what your hospital's policy on baby rooming-in with you is.  At my last hospital, they took DS into the nursery for a few hours to let DH and I sleep/ recover.  This hospital is strictly babies only in the room, unless they need to be in NICU.  Testing is done in-room as well.  So, no breaks at all.  Trust me, that break is worth it when your baby is born at midnight, and you don't get into your post-delivery room until after 3am.  
    DS1: Born 11.18.15
    DS2: EDD- 09.08.17

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  • We did a birthing class and a tour last time. I imagine we will go on the tour this time (different hospital, although it is one I am somewhat familiar with). Generally, I think it is good to know basic policies and have a chance to see where you will be. Parking/drop off is also useful to be familiar with.

    @wannabeamongoose, that list is insane.
  • We did a hospital tour last time which answered most of the questions that previous posters have listed above. We were also able to pre-register after our tour which eliminated the need to do a stack full of paperwork upon check in when I was in labor. I'd highly recommend looking into that at your hospital. 

    This time we are taking the tour with our son as part of the sibling class that our hospital offers. Since our new hospital opens in January, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are still doing some upkeep on our current hospital. Rumor has it that they don't even have cots available for dads to room in with mom and baby. However, my only other option for delivery is a hospital that is 45 minutes away without Southern California traffic. 
  • We signed up for the childbirth class offered by our hospital and it includes a tour of the L&D unit. For those who don't have the option for a tour, just a note that you may still get answers to some of the questions that have been mentioned above through information your OB gives you. I went for my 30 week appointment today and received a whole package of information. It outlines some of things that have been discussed, such as: procedures when you arrive at the hospital, that they don't require you to wear a fetal monitor continuously if everything seems to be ok, how many people are allowed to be with you for delivery, visitor policies, etc. I think it's great to do the tour if you can, but if it's not offered, hopefully that doesn't mean they'll leave you in the dark for all these questions!
  • Something our tour guide went over that I didn't think to ask was the hospital's policy for delivery (food delivery). At our hospital mom's meals are included in the cost of the birth package and are brought up room service style from the hospital cafeteria. The hospital requires special meal tokens be purchased in advance if you want food from the cafe for others, but they do allow delivery as long as you meet the delivery guy in the lobby of the ground floor. The L&D and mother's room floors are pretty locked down. Even the expectant father isn't allowed to enter the same way as the mom. He has to check in through a different route.
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