A parent and child cradling a new born baby.

Choosing a Maternity Hospital

Whether you’re expecting your first or fourth little bundle of joy, choosing a labor and delivery hospital that accommodates your needs is essential. It’s best to give the process careful thought and deliberation rather than merely picking the closest facility or choosing the first one that pops up in an internet search.

You’ll want to research different facilities to determine whether they’ll accept your insurance, what items they provide, hospital delivery charges, pain relief options, and other vital details. Explore these tips and recommendations for choosing a maternity hospital that will help make your delivery experience as smooth, seamless, and relaxing as possible.

Choosing the Best Hospital to Deliver Your Baby

Your baby’s birth will be one of the most special days of your life, so choosing the right hospital to deliver your newest family member is an important process. Below are some steps you can take to help you determine the right maternity hospital.

1. Touring the Maternity Hospital

A maternity hospital tour offers several benefits that may help alleviate some pre-birth tension. Touring the hospital will help clarify where you’ll be and what to expect on the day of your baby’s arrival:

  • You can determine details like the best route to take to the hospital, where to park, and where to check in.
  • You can get answers to any questions that may be on your mind.
  • You’ll have the chance to meet some staff members who may be assisting you during labor and delivery — seeing a familiar face can be a welcome relief when contractions are escalating.

The beginning of your third trimester — or seventh month — is typically a good time to take a maternity hospital tour. These tours are free and easy to set up. Most facilities list their tour times on their websites and may have the option to schedule your tour online. If not, you can set it up with a quick call to the hospital.

An expectant mother having a consultation with a doctor.

2. Knowing if the Hospital Takes Your Insurance

Insurance coverage is another essential consideration. Labor and delivery costs can accumulate quickly, especially if you require a cesarean section or your infant needs additional intensive care.

With some exceptions, qualifying health insurance plans will cover pregnancy-related needs like childbirth, prenatal care, and newborn care. However, you’ll likely have to pay deductibles, copays, or coinsurance.

To maximize your insurance benefits and reduce out-of-pocket delivery expenses as much as possible, you might need to select a hospital that accepts your plan. If you’ve already chosen a health care provider, ask them where they have admitting privileges and ensure the facility participates in your plan.

Contact your health care provider’s office and your insurance agent to determine what’s covered and what isn’t. That way, you’ll know what to expect and prevent surprise bills in the mail.

3. Ensuring the Hospital Will Meet Your Priorities

You may have other needs, preferences, and things you’re looking for in a delivery hospital, such as:

  • Private rooms: Some insurance policies cover private room use after delivery. If you’d prefer some solitude after the birth, ask the maternity ward if private rooms are available.
  • Intensive care nurseries: Every pregnancy has a chance of complications that require neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) care after the birth. If a hospital doesn’t offer this care on-site, you might consider choosing another maternity ward.
  • High-risk services: Factors like young or old age, being underweight or overweight, carrying multiple babies, high blood pressure, and diabetes can contribute to high-risk pregnancies. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, ensure the hospital staff is well-equipped to handle these circumstances.

Here are some other questions that may be worth exploring:

  • Does the hospital offer prenatal, birthing, breastfeeding, and parenting classes?
  • What delivery pain relief options are available?
  • Can your partner stay with you in the room?
  • What is the visitation policy?

Finally, consider reading online patient reviews. These are valuable indicators of how the maternity ward treats its patients and handles the childbirth process.

A new couple cradling and adoring their newborn baby.

What Do Hospitals Provide for Labor and Delivery?

Hospitals with labor and delivery will typically provide you with a gown, slippers, basic toiletries, and disposable underwear. Here are some additional items to pack in your hospital bag:

  • Comfy pajamas, a robe, and slippers
  • A nursing bra and a regular bra
  • Toiletries — toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hairbrush, lotion, etc.
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to wear home
  • Outfit for your newborn to wear home
  • Snacks

There are also a few items the hospital may need, such as your:

  • Hospital admissions papers.
  • Health insurance card.
  • Birth preferences.
  • Pregnancy medical file, including any prescriptions and information about over-the-counter medicine.
  • Contact information for your baby’s pediatrician so the hospital can inform the office that the baby has arrived.

When to Go to the Hospital for Delivery

As a general rule of thumb, you should go to the hospital when you have painful, consistent contractions. During early labor, you’ll likely have mild, sporadic contractions. You don’t have to go to the hospital just yet, but you should stay home where you’re comfortable and prepare for active labor. When your contractions each last a minute and occur at least every five minutes for over two hours, you’re transitioning from early to active labor.

Whether or not you’re experiencing contractions, you should go to the hospital when your water breaks to help reduce the risk of infection. Try to note the amount of fluid, color, and odor when your water breaks.

Leaving the Hospital After Delivery

Once the hard part is over and you’re finally ready to take home your newest addition, here are some things to do before checking out of the hospital:

  • Have someone install the car seat.
  • Learn how to swaddle the baby if you don’t already know how.
  • Request a breastfeeding tutorial from a lactation consultant.
  • Get cleared by both your obstetrician and the baby’s pediatrician.
  • Get a baby care tutorial from the postpartum nurse, including advice for bathing your newborn, umbilical cord care, and cutting their nails.
  • Grab some hospital freebies for moms, like diapers and wipes, postpartum pads, formula samples, infant clothing, and blankets.
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Turn to Americord for Stem Cell Storage

Choosing a maternity hospital is a crucial task during your pregnancy, as is considering whether to pursue stem cell storage. At Americord®, we strive to help families live longer, healthier lives.

We collect, process, and store hematopoietic stem cells from umbilical cord blood and placental tissue in our private bank. In addition to being completely safe and painless, stem cell storage may benefit you, your child, or other family members in the future. These cells have broad medical and therapeutic uses, contributing to multiple FDA-approved treatments for conditions including bone marrow cancers, lymphomas, leukemias, and phagocyte disorders.

If you are pregnant and are looking for more information about newborn stem cell banking, give one of our Stem Cell Specialists a call (866-503-6005) today! You can also learn more here on our website.

The views, statements, and pricing expressed are deemed reliable as of the published date. Articles may not reflect current pricing, offerings, or recent innovations.