If you’re a mom-to-be (or planning on it), it’s never too soon to get your ducklings in a row when it comes to where you’ll have your little one. After all, there are more choices than ever: Hospital? Birthing center? Even at-home delivery has become a welcome choice for some women, which is a departure from the days when it was the first and sometimes only option.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, most women in the US still choose the traditional hospital setting to give birth — nearly 98.4 percent of moms-to-be.1 And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) notes that the safest place for you to give birth is still a hospital, hospital-based birth center or accredited freestanding birth center.2
So, the question literally becomes, where do you go from here? There are a few things to keep in mind that may help you choose which hospital will join you in introducing your baby to the world.
Consider the hospital’s location
Picking a hospital that’s near to where you live is important for a few reasons. You’ll have visits for prenatal care and, of course, when you go into labor. And if you already have a pregnancy-care provider in mind, you’ll want to know where the provider has hospital privileges for performing services. While the pandemic may limit some of your in-person visits, you’ll still want to make sure travel is close by and convenient.
Learn as much as you can
It’s time to do your research. If you’ve narrowed your choices to one or two hospitals, check out:
- Information about the pregnancy-care providers who deliver there
- The experiences family members or friends have had giving birth at the hospital
- Their websites
- Whether they provide in-person or virtual tours
Think about your personal health needs
Hopefully your pregnancy is low-risk and you and your provider aren’t expecting complications. But there are a few reasons you may want to look for a hospital that has high-risk pregnancy specialists. Those reasons may include:
- Being pregnant with multiples (more than one baby)
- You’re younger than 17 or older than 35
- You have a history of complicated pregnancies or births
- You have preexisting health problems
Make sure you’re covered
Look for a hospital that accepts your health plan. It will help you lower your out-of-pocket expenses.
Ask yourself if the hospital is a good fit for your approach to pregnancy
Being in synch with a hospital’s philosophy about prenatal care, labor and delivery will make the birth experience so much better. Keep in mind that every hospital has a slightly different approach to caring for moms-to-be and their babies. Know your options by asking the staff or your provider questions like these:
- Are there limits on who can be with you before, during and after delivery? This is especially important to know during the pandemic, when many hospitals have restrictions in place to keep mother and baby safe.
- Can I give birth in the position that’s most comfortable for me?
- Can they provide guidance on my pregnancy journey? For instance, Methodist Healthcare has a perinatal navigator who offers support for moms-to-be who may be at higher risk during pregnancy.
- Does the hospital offer epidurals to help manage pain during labor?
- Does the hospital offer vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC)?
- Do they have information about prenatal care that will help me and my whole family?
- How long is the typical hospital stay for a healthy mother and baby?
- If it’s needed, does the hospital have a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) right there?
Keep amenities in mind
Add amenities to your information gathering. Would you prefer a private room, chef-prepared meals and rooming-in so you and your new baby can spend quality time together? Then be sure to add it to your list. Sometimes the little things matter, too.
A word about birthing centers
Although most births still happen in hospitals, birthing centers are becoming more popular. You’ll usually find them near a hospital, and they’re overseen by doctors or nurse-midwives. If you’re looking into birthing centers as the place to have your baby, make sure you carefully check the staff’s credentials. Then, in case there’s the rare problem during labor and delivery, you’ll be able to get the best possible care if you choose a birthing center.
[H2] We’re here to help you choose
We’re committed to delivering your baby safely — that’s our top priority. Focusing on your family with a personal approach is at the top of our list, too. Here’s what some of our Methodist families say about their pregnancy experiences with us.
To connect with other moms in San Antonio, ask questions and share advice, visit us on Facebook.
- No Hospital, Birth Center, or Home Birth Is Risk-Free — But Better Access to Care, Quality of Care, and Care System Integration Can Improve Safety for Women and Infants During Birth, Says Report. National Academies. Published February 6, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2021.
- ACOG Statement on Birth Settings. ACOG. ACOG. Published April 20, 2020. Accessed March 11, 2021.
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