Why you might want to start touring hospitals

Suggested post (Harvard Medical School)

No matter how far along you are in your TTC journey, it’s never too early to start touring hospitals. Checking out potential hospital facilities is a valuable step that could make an eventual birth experience go more smoothly.

Why should I go early?

Once you become pregnant, you’ll have a less mobility, so touring different hospitals while you can easily be on your feet for extended periods of time is a good idea.

Pregnancy comes with a whole lot of time commitments. From announcements to baby showers to tons of doctors appointments, you’re likely to have your hands full. Consider fitting a few hospital visits into your schedule now while it’s still open.

What do I look for when I’m there?

  • Do doctors rotate responsibilities on the labor floor? Some hospitals have this system so providers aren’t splitting their attention between the labor floor and their office. Because of this, you should consider the possibility that the doctor or midwife you see for your prenatal appointments might not be the same doctor who delivers your baby.
  • What’s the staff like? Take a moment and talk with a few of the nurses and doctors if they can spare the time. Does the atmosphere match what you want on the big day? Maybe you’d prefer a staff that’s friendlier, or one that’s all business.
  • How are the facilities? It’s possible that you’ll be spending a few days here post-delivery. Quality of care being equal, it’s alright to look for an environment that you will find the most comfortable.

Can I compare hospitals?

You can! Looking up hospital statistics is a smart first step when you’re researching hospitals. You can use this tool, which was made using data from The LeapFrog group, to compare C-section rates at hospitals near you.

The rate of performed Caesarean sections is one of the most important statistics you can find about a hospital. At first glance, a high C-section rate might seem reassuring because it shows that a hospital has a lot of experience related to the procedure. However, rates that are higher than expected are concerning because of the potential that the hospital is performing C-sections when they aren’t medically necessary.

How to know when it’s right

There are many websites that rate physicians, but it’s unclear whether these can really tell you which doctors provide high-quality care. You’re probably better off checking out websites that rate hospitals – the statistics are more reliable, and unlike rating a doctor, personality isn’t a factor.

Learn more

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