Recently I had the pleasure of going on tour with a great group of people. It was in a well-known city and at a well-known venue. Well, let me clarify. I didn’t actually go “on tour”, I went on “a” tour. More specifically, I went on a hospital tour. I was with some great people (expecting parents and siblings), in a big city, and a well-known hospital, though.
You might ask, “But you’re a doula. Why are you going on a hospital tour?”
One of my clients had chosen a hospital that I have never supported a birth at before. As a member of her support team, it’s my duty to make sure she is as comfortable as possible. I can’t do that if I’m uncomfortable in my surroundings because I don’t know where anything is or how the facility operates. My clients can’t depend on me to meet their needs quickly if I have to find a nurse and ask for directions to the ice machine or if I’m fumbling around from cabinet to cabinet looking for a washcloth to place on their forehead.
As part of my commitment to my clients, I want to be as prepared as possible for their birth. This includes knowing everything I can about their chosen birthing place.
Here’s a checklist that makes a good starting point of things to find out when going on a hospital tour:
Where to park?
Is there a parking fee?
Where to enter during and after regular hours?
Where labor and delivery is located?
How many visitors are allowed in triage, delivery room, postpartum?
Are rooms private or semi-private?
Where are extra gowns, towels, pillows, sheets, and warm blankets located?
What happens if a surgical birth is required?
Are birth balls, peanut balls, birth stools, squat bars, etc. available at this facility?
Are patients allowed to use tub/shower during labor?
Are patients encouraged to eat/drink freely in labor?
Where is the pantry located and what snacks/drinks are available?
What happens after baby is born?
Most of these questions should be answered by the nurse or hospital representative as they are guiding your tour. If there are unanswered questions, don’t be shy. Just ask.
Guess what? This list isn’t just for doulas. Expecting parents, wherever you plan on giving birth, you should take a tour. You need to know these things as well.
Is there anything else you’d ask that’s not on the list?
North Atlanta Concierge Doula Services attends births at several hospitals in the North Metro Atlanta area. While you still need to take a tour for yourself, we can give you information on several locations that may help you narrow down the where you may want to give birth. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.