Thursday, May 29, 2008

Choosing an OB-GYN

I wish I'd known that when you choose your OB-GYN, you're also actually choosing your hospital, too. And hospitals have policies and procedures you need to be aware of when you're making your choice. Things to know about your hospital:
  • Does your baby stay with you at all times? What are their policies on exams, etc? Are they done in your room, or off in a nursery somewhere? Can you go with your baby to these exams?
  • Do they have shared or private recovery rooms?
  • Do you share a nurse with another mom during labor and delivery, or do you have a dedicated nurse?
  • Do you labor and deliver in the same room that you recover in, or a different room?
  • Do they have REALLY GOOD anethesiologists on-site 24/7? (Even if you think you don't want an epidural, you might... and once you decide you want one, you want it NOW!!!!!)
  • Are the hospital's policies consistent with your birth plan, or if you haven't written that up yet/you don't ever plan to write it up, are the hospital's policies consistent with the way you envision the birth to take place?
  • Do they have lactation support onsite? What is their policy on bottle-feeding newborns who are having trouble nursing? What help do they provide to get breastfeeding off to a good start?
  • What is the NICU like (heaven forbid you might need it)?
  • Do they offer classes on birthing, breastfeeding, etc? How much do the classes cost? If they are not offered, what are your alternatives?
  • Do they offer non-traditional birthing or laboring options such as hot tubs, birthing balls, meditation, etc? Do you want that sort of thing?
  • Does your pediatrician have rights at that hospital? Your baby will need to see his or her pediatrician (or a designated alternate) in the hospital for regular new-born check-ups.

The best way to get an answer to these questions, and probably a lot of others I haven't thought of, is to take a tour of the hospital. We knew exactly what to expect after the tour... it was just kind of too late to change hospitals had we wanted to. In the end, we were really happy with the hospital and the services we received, but next time I'm going to ask these questions before settling on my OB-GYN.

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