8 Questions Pregnant Women Should Ask on Their Hospital Tour

What to Ask on a Hospital Tour for Pregnant WomenI recently toured the hospital where I'll be giving birth to my second child this spring. If yours offers a sneak peek at its maternity digs, I highly recommend jumping at the opportunity. At first, it's a frightening experience because it really drives home the idea that, yes, you are going to have to labor and push out this baby at some point in the near future and, oh yeah, these are the stirrups you'll be using to help you. But the tour also allows you to learn more about your hospital's procedures and rules and get a picture of how your birthing and recovery room will look. And it's the perfect opportunity to ask tons of questions. You may want to make sure these 8 are somewhere on your list. 

1. How do I book a private room? After seeing how cramped the shared rooms were at my hospital, I immediately knew I wanted a private room. My hospital charges $200 a night to upgrade a room, and instead of doing it on a first come, first served basis, the first woman who delivers gets priority. If a private room is important for you, make sure you get all of the facts about it.

2. Will my baby be examined in the birthing room with me or will he/she be removed and taken to another room? With my first birth, my daughter was whisked away after 20 minutes to be examined in another room. I'm delighted that this time my baby will receive his exam in the birthing room and we will not be separated the entire time.

3. If I have a C-section, will my baby be separated from me right after the procedure? My hospital keeps baby and mommy together, but I've heard of several that do not.

4. How many people are allowed in the birthing room with me ... no, really ... how many? Our nurse told us no more than two people were allowed in. Apparently, I was oblivious to the fact that, after peppering her with additional questions about this "rule," she was subtly trying to tell me you could get around that policy -- but she wasn't allowed to say that.

5. What's your policy on bringing in outside food? Food may be the last thing on your mind after giving birth. It was one of the first things on my mind, and my hospital's white toast was the last thing on earth I wanted to eat. Ask if they will store food for you in their fridge and allow your husband to use their microwave to heat it up.

6. Are you going to kick my husband out of the room? Understandably, guests will be told to leave after a certain time, but some hospitals turn a blind eye to husbands staying with their wives the entire night.

7. Do you offer breastfeeding support and, if so, is it private or group support? At my hospital, a lactation counselor holds two breastfeeding sessions per day and women are encouraged to attend the first one they can after giving birth. It was good to know I shouldn't expect a private visit from a counselor.

8. If breastfeeding doesn't work out for me, will nurses give me a hard time about formula? I asked this and the nurse didn't look pleased. She told me in not so many words that they would try and encourage me to breastfeed if that's what I originally stated I wanted to do. Women who are either unsure or anxious about breastfeeding should know this because it can be upsetting when you feel like nurses are pushing you to do something you've changed your mind about. They're only trying to honor your request and support you, but when your body is adjusting to insane hormonal shifts after giving birth, you may not see their good intentions with rational eyes.

What other important questions should a woman ask on her hospital tour?

Image via Jamie Grill/Tetra Images/Corbis

labor & delivery


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Krystian Kaufold

Those are some nice questions. 

But really a private room?!?!?! 

Just suck it up and share for the night or two.

sconn... sconniegirl

thank you for this! i'll have my first this summer and never thought to ask most of these questions...now they're on my list.

and i don't think it's weird to want a private room...i definitely want one!!

fave82 fave82

Ask the best place to park/enter the hospital!! Ours had so many lots, garages and entrances it could be confusing. And the maternity ward was all the way down one wing, so if you came in the wrong spot is was a LONG ASS walk... while in labor.

Kaela Wheeler

After my experience I cannot imagine having to share a room! My son had a lot of trouble with latching and was a very sleepy baby, so I spent several hours a day with an LC,stripped from the waist up to maximize skin-to-skin contact. Plus I had some pretty bad tearing/bleeding issues and needed help getting to the bathroom, add on top of that the ridiculous gush of hormones...gah! I cannot imagine having to go through all that with someone else's guests and family coming in and out of the room. Of the three hospitals I've been to now though (in three different regions of the country), none of them even had shared rooms, so it hasn't been an issue. Maybe shared rooms are falling by the wayside?

Coles... Coles_mom

I've had three kids (the most recent just over a year ago), in three different hospitals and not once ever toured a hospital. I've never even been asked to. Also, all the hospitals ONLY had private rooms...even the big university one I had to go to with a high-risk pregnancy. I worked in labor and delivery for years and never once saw anyone come in for a tour. How weird. Who does that?

Roxygurl Roxygurl

Coles mom all the hospitals here in Houston offer tours on a weekly basis, you just have to sign up for it.

fave82 fave82

@coles-mom. I think it's super weird that you've never seen or heard of a hospital tour. My doctor recommended that I take one to know what to expect and I always tell my pregnant friends that it was totally worth taking an hr outta my day to do. There were 8 other couples when I went and I have 6 other mom friends who have taken them (split between 3 different hospitals). So I guess the question is.. who DOESN'T do that?!

nonmember avatar Christina

Money was tight when my son was born so we decided to share a room. My son was born right before visiting hours ended, and since you are not allowed overnight guests in a shared postpartum room, my husband had to leave his first born son within a couple hours of his birth. I was livid. If I could have walked, I would have left with him.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

As for the hospital tours, not 1 hospital in our province, let alone city offers these! It's a security issue as well as they're just too damn busy for it. As for private rooms, our delivery rooms are private but then you're moved to postpartum and most of ours are shared by 2 people. You're also only allowed 1 support person in labor and delivery and the only visitors allowed are baby's dad/mom's partner, baby's siblings and grandparents-no exceptions. This takes care of a bunch of people parading through your room. Your partner is allowed to stay as long as you do. Didn't have to worry much about that myself with any of my 3 deliveries as they were all early morning and I was home in my own bed that night! Best thing ever!

nonmember avatar lucy

Sharing is fine if you have a natural birth but i was glad the only space at my hospital was a private room after my c-section, i was lucky and as there was no room in the shared wards i didn't have to pay for the 5 nights i stayed and as you could choose weather to keep you baby overnight i wasn't faced with other people babies in the night the first night when i really needed to sleep

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