Choosing the right hospital for your baby’s birth is almost as important as choosing your baby’s pediatrician. More often than not, the obstetrician that you choose will be tied in to the hospital that you will use for your delivery as your obstetrician’s privileges are most often restricted to his or her area hospitals. So consider both the merit of the obstetrician as well as the facilities the hospital offers before you make a choice.
Many obstetricians have admitting privileges in more than one hospital so once you have picked the obstetrician you may still have a choice as to which hospital you will have your delivery in. Both these choices must be made after careful consideration and research. So it may be a question of whether the cart should come before the horse.
If you are choosing an obstetrician here are a few considerations
Your health history should play a major role in your choice of obstetrician. Chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes may require special care. A physician that has experience in dealing with these conditions and has specialized training may be necessary in your case. It is not always easy to predict the level of care your condition may warrant if there are unexpected complications that may arise down the road.
The doctor’s attitude towards any special issues that may be important to you such as having a doula present, or not using an epidural for analgesia or even sticking to your choice of natural birth must all be taken into consideration. If you sense that the obstetrician may not be supportive of your choices, then you may be subjecting yourself to unnecessary anxiety.
Never underestimate the importance of your physician’s bedside manner. Labor is a stressful time in your pregnancy as it is, you certainly don’t need the added pressure of having a sourpuss around you at this time. She does not have to agree with you at every point but you should not have to dread seeing your physician when your due date rolls around.
If you are choosing a hospital here are a few considerations
If yours is considered a high-risk pregnancy, it is important that the hospital have a neonatal intensive care unit. The specialized equipment needed for sustaining a premature baby’s life is often expensive and involves hiring a specialized staff dedicated to the care of at-risk newborns.
It is also important to consider how your birth plan is received by the hospital if you are planning a water birth or the use of a doula during delivery. Are there comfortable accommodations available for your birthing partner and can he or she can stay in the room with you during the entire labor and delivery?
Lactation consultants are an important part of the hospital staff that can help mom through the angst of breastfeeding in the first few days after the arrival of the baby. Some hospitals also afford blood bank facilities for storage of cord blood if the parents are interested. If this facility is of value to you, inquiry into what the hospital offers.
More important than anything else, before you make any important decision talk to as many people as you can get your hands on who have used both your obstetrician and hospital. There is nothing more reliable than testimonials from people that have experienced the physician and facility first-hand. Most people will be glad to answer any questions and help you in this important decision.