Whether you’re deciding between hospitals or taking a tour of the hospital your doctor is affiliated with, check out these birth hospital tour questions to ask and things to consider.

Before you give birth, you’ll most likely tour the hospital affiliated with your doctor. This is your chance to get an inside look at the facilities and ask questions you may have concerning labor and delivery.

What’s a Typical Labor Room Like?

Most of the traditional labor and delivery rooms at hospitals consist of several different rooms where the mom-to-be transfers depending on her stage of labor. Because labor can go on for a very long time, most pregnant women start out in a labor room, where they can work through contractions. From there, when the baby is ready to make an appearance, she is moved to the delivery room. After delivery, moms may then go to a private or semiprivate room or, if a C-section was necessary, a post-op room.

Of course, some birth hospitals offer a unique experience, such as a birthing suite, in which all stages of the birthing process—labor, delivery, recovery, and postpartum care—take place in one room. Some of these suites even include a Jacuzzi for you to relax and labor in, plus other amenities, such as a pull-out bed for your partner or support person; TVs, DVD players, and CD players; Wi-Fi access, so you can keep friends and family updated on the latest happenings at the hospital; and a variety of birthing tools, such as birthing balls.

More Hospital Tour Questions to Ask

When you do take a tour of your hospital or birth facility, be sure to bring a list of questions. A good starting point are the ones below:

  1. Does your facility encourage and follow birth plans?
  2. Are there lactation consultants on premise to help with breast-feeding challenges?
  3. Are epidural and anesthesia services available 24 hours?
  4. Are there birthing and parenting classes offered at the facility?
  5. Is there a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) on premise?
  6. What is the facility’s view on doulas and midwives? Are they allowed in the labor and delivery rooms?
  7. How many people are allowed to be in the delivery room?
  8. What is the nurse-to-patient ratio in the labor and delivery unit?
  9. How many births take place at the hospital each year?
  10. How long is the stay for a vaginal delivery? A C-section?

Once you have your birth hospital questions answered, you’ll likely start to feel more comfortable with your upcoming labor and delivery options.