Pregnancy can be overwhelming. All the decisions you have to make may further compound the situation. One of the decisions you have to make is the maternity hospital at which you will deliver your little bundle of joy. Here are a few things to consider as you select your preferred hospital.
1. Hospital’s reputation in the quality of care
One of the key things to consider is the reputation the maternity hospital has when it comes to quality of care. Some basic research on the hospital including online reviews is a good place to start. Also, ask for recommendations from friends and family. Women are increasingly open when it comes to childbirth, and you are guaranteed to find valuable information including the quality of the medical staff including nurses and doctors. The staff should be friendly, easily approachable, attentive, and eager to help.
2. What your insurance covers
Insurance coverage is one of the most critical considerations. You need to choose a maternity hospital that is covered by your insurance provider to lower the cost. This comes in handy because costs can really pile up, especially in the event of emergency procedures such as a c-section. It also needs to be a hospital where your gynaecologist or healthcare provider has admitting privileges and/or is affiliated with.
3. Room availability and distance from your home
The distance of the hospital from your home is an important consideration. Ideally, you should be able to reach the hospital within half an hour even during peak traffic hours. It’s best to choose a maternity hospital that is close by so that you don’t have to worry about covering the distance or traffic when the time comes.
The facility should also have doctors and facilities that are available 24/7 which goes a long way to settle your mind. Also, check to make sure that your preferred maternity hospital has available rooms during the 2-3 weeks of your due date. Find out if you need to book rooms in advance and how far in advance in that case. Also, find out about the different kinds of rooms and birthing suites and the accompanying features and prices.
4. Specialized care and facilities including NICU
A good maternity hospital will have specialized care and facilities. If you go into preterm labour or have a high-risk pregnancy you need a facility with adequate facilities and doctors qualified to handle it.
A pregnancy is considered high risk if the woman is over 35 years old, overweight or underweight, pregnant with multiple babies, has had previous pregnancy problems, and has other health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV or autoimmune disorders. The facility should be able to arrange blood on short notice and have an ICU in the event of an emergency.
Choosing a facility with Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) is critical, especially for women with high-risk pregnancies but should be a consideration for all pregnant women. NICU staff provide high-level care to premature and critically ill babies. If you plan to breastfeed, find out if the hospital has any lactation consultants or experts.
5. Vaginal vs C-section delivery rate
Childbirth carries with it a level of risk for both vaginal and cesarean delivery methods. As with any surgery, a c-section delivery carries with it risks including infection, haemorrhage, reaction to anaesthesia, blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), and injury to nearby organs. You need to prepare for any eventuality and speak to your doctor about the likelihood of a c-section. Discuss the costs of each and discuss any concerns with your doctor.
6. Accommodation for attendant
Giving birth is highly emotional and you may want your family members present or your doula or another attendant. Find out if the maternity hospital allows them to stay back and assist during labour and postpartum and if the hospital has facilities to accommodate them.
7. Take a hospital maternity tour
Ask about and check out the facilities the hospital has including neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and intensive care units (ICUs). Have a test run to determine approximately how long it takes to get to the hospital at different times and under different conditions.
Find out if they have high-risk OB services and specialized care providers that can handle any emergency. Find out about room availability, the prices of different birthing suites, and how far in advance you need to book said rooms. There is no substitute for seeing it yourself especially when it comes to putting your mind at ease.
Here’s hoping this helps you select a great maternity hospital that sets your mind at ease.
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