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Tips for Choosing the Right Hospital for Your Birth

Photo by: iStock

From frivolous choices, such as choosing the brand of mustard we prefer, to major decisions, such as selecting the right hospital to give birth in, we are lucky to live in a world of many options. Today we’re talking about the latter, of course. While we’re lucky to having so many hospitals or birthing locations to choose from, all those choices can also make our decision more difficult.

“What matters most to you?” asks Tracy Donegan, a midwife based in California and the founder of GentleBirth. “Most parents would say a healthy baby, with comfort and environment being further down the list. However, you can have both a satisfying birthing experience and a safe one. You just need to find a hospital that recognizes the importance of both.”

By taking a moment to determine what factors are most important to you and your family, and by scrutinizing the hospitals in your area, you’ll be able to make that decision with more confidence.

Choose Patient, Caring Providers
Some hospital settings can make you feel like you’re one pregnant woman in a lineup of many. Pay careful attention to how you feel when you’re interacting with health care providers at a hospital, says Donegan. For example, are the providers sensitive to your needs? Do they answer your questions thoughtfully and thoroughly without making you feel like you’re taking up time or asking a silly question? Do they go out of their way to make sure you’re comfortable and confident in your birth plan?

The way you feel now when interacting with health care providers is how you’ll feel your entire pregnancy and through your birth.

Confirm That Your Insurance is Accepted
Double and triple check to make sure that your insurance is accepted. You can also inquire about costs now so you’re fully prepared for your future hospital bill.

Make Sure The Hospital Can Accommodate Your Birthing Preferences
Some hospitals don’t have the resources to accommodate alternative birthing methods. For example, if you want to have a water birth, make sure the hospital is equipped with the appropriate facilities. More than that, they should also be experienced in your preferred method to ensure all goes smoothly.

Ask For Recommendations From Others
It may seem strange to ask friends and family for hospital recommendations, but the experiences of others can be a huge indicator for what your experience will be like, as well.

Choose a Comfortable, Accessible Facility
Seek a clean, comfortable facility that’s conveniently located. The hospital should be easy to drive to in all weather conditions, and you should feel safe and at ease while you’re there. Donegan says you should have access to bathing facilities, and non-pharmacological comfort to help you through labor, such as birthing balls, dim lighting, and a quiet room.

Look for Signs That Your Care is Individualized
“A truly mother-focused, supportive hospital will support your birth preferences and provide individualized care versus a ‘one size fits all’ methodology,” says Donegan.

She says that signs of individualized, nuanced care include a staff that’s welcoming of your written birth preferences, and that your provider is interested in you, your health history, and your specific needs and wants for all potential scenarios.

Wendy Rose Gould is a writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. She covers women’s lifestyle topics for numerous digital publications, including InStyle, xoVain, Refinery29, Revelist, PopSugar and ModCloth. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram or at

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