Questions To Ask On Your Hospital Tour

You’ve been going to your prenatal appointments, you know what your OB’s office looks like, you’ve been reading birth books, following birth-related Instagram accounts, taken a class and still have some questions. Maybe even concerns.

“What is even a Squat bar?! And will I be able to use it… whatever it is.”

And now you have this hospital tour coming up with the Maternity Navigator and you have SO MANY questions to ask! But which questions should you be even asking?

The answer is: All of them! There is no such thing as a “stupid question”. It is how you learn and this will be the place to do it for a few reasons:

  1. Because they’ve heard all the questions before

  2. Because they’ve given the answers before, and

  3. Because they know their own hospital’s policies on various practices and procedures.

Ok, but really. what questions should you be asking?? If you are like me, you think of things to ask and rehearse the whole scenario in your head but then when you get to the actual point of needing to ask those questions, you freeze up and barely remember your name and phone number. Or due date.

So here you go, a list of questions that you can ask on your hospital tour (or at an OB/midwife appointment)!

  • When should I come into the hospital?

  • Tell me about the 4-1-1/5-1-1 rule.

  • Do you have a list of items I should pack in my hospital bag? Or a list of things I do not need to pack?

  • What number do I call if I think I’m in labor?

  • If I need to come in after hours, which entrance should I use?

  • At what point will I be admitted? (4 cm or 6 cm?)

  • How long will I need to stay in triage?

  • Do you have tubs in all of the rooms? Or do I need to request a room with a tub? (Note: You cannot birth in water at any of the hospitals in KC. The tubs are only for hydrotherapy purposes.)

  • Do you have a policy on the use of essential oils?

  • Do I have to wear a hospital gown or can I wear my own?

  • Can I request a saline lock if I don’t have to be hooked up to an IV?

  • Can I refuse a saline lock completely?

  • If I really don’t like my nurse, can I request a different one?

  • Can I request to not have a nursing student or medical residents attend to me?

  • How often will I get cervical checks during active labor?

  • Can I refuse cervical checks at any point in labor?

  • What is protocol for getting an epidural?

  • How many people will be allowed in the room during the epidural placement?

  • How many people will be allowed in the room during the birth?

  • Do you have birthing balls/peanut balls/squat bars?

  • Do you have cordless monitors?

  • Do you have a large standing mirror to help me during pushing/see what’s happening down there?

  • What positions will I be able to give birth in?

  • What is the protocol in the case of meconium?

  • What level NICU do you have?

  • What is your policy on delayed/optimal cord clamping/skin-to-skin?

  • What is your policy on delaying or opting out of Hep B/Vitamin K/eye ointment?

  • Can those be done while doing skin-to-skin?

  • How soon will I be able to see an IBCLC after my baby is born?

  • What is your policy about me keeping my placenta?

  • Tell me about your security measures with newborns.

  • Is there any reason why you would need to take my newborn to the nursery?

  • Do you do circumcisions here or do I need to schedule that through my pediatrician?

  • Do you have a list of pediatricians who do rounds here?

  • How soon will I be able to go home?

Do you have any that you would add?

Of course, you or your doula may already know the answers to most of these, but it’s always great to ask and get the answers straight from the source. I hope this list helps you at your upcoming hospital tour and that it maybe spurs on more questions! Questions are good, always.