Touring a Birth Center - questions to ask? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 03-29-2011, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello!  My husband and I are going to tour a local birth center this afternoon, and I'm stumped on questions to ask.  Any suggestions would be helpful.  They have a pretty decent FAQ on their website, but I feel like I'm missing something as far as questions go.  Their website is, if you'd like to see the FAQ.  Thanks for any help!






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#2 of 3 Old 03-29-2011, 01:53 PM
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This might be coming too late for it to be any help, but here are examples of some questions I prepared for our hospital L&D tours.  Is this a FSBC, or a hospital-affiliated one?  That would make a difference in the kind of questions you'd need to ask. 


- How many staff do you have?  What happens if you are understaffed?  Are there physicians/midwives 'on call'?  How soon do you contact my caregiver when I come in/how soon should I expect her to be here?  If my caregiver cannot make it, who will attend my birth? 

- If I get a nurse that's not a good 'fit', what's the best way to politely ask for someone else?

- What is this facility's experience with natural childbirth?  What sort of non-pharmaceutical labor helps do you offer for women who birth here? (Hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, massage, birth balls for labor, assistance with changing labor positions, etc.) 

- If I decide I want medication, can I get it here?  What is the process?

- How does this facility treat birth plans?  How can I be sure that mine will be followed?  Do you have any recommendations for me about the best way to word certain requests/wishes on my birth plan?

- What is your facility's general policy and practice about the following: food and drink in labor, fetal monitoring, IV's, bringing in my own music/candles/doula/whatever, children visiting or staying throughout my labor (we want our toddler to be there so this was important), the kind of clothing I am expected to wear, vaginal exams upon admittance and/or throughout labor, moving around in labor, using the tub/shower, use of various positions for labor and birth?

- If I wish to birth squatting or standing upright or in water, etc., is that going to be something your staff can handle?  Or do all women give birth in bed here? 

- What is your facility's general policy and practice with a newborn baby?  Does baby go to a warmer or right to mom's chest after birth?  Do you typically do a lot of "stuff" to the baby immediately after it's born, or do you allow for bonding time with parents?  What is the process for me to refuse certain standard protocols if I wish (i.e., Vitamin K shot, or eye ointment, or vaccinations, for example)?  Will my wishes to delay cord clamping/breastfeed immediately/whatever be honored and supported here?  How do I ensure that my wishes re: newborn care will be followed? 

- Is this facility officially "baby-friendly"?  (This is an official designation from a third party.)  If not, in what ways does it fall short of the recommendations followed by baby-friendly facilities?

- Do you have lactation consultants on staff who can help me get breastfeeding started right away? 

- If I require a C-section, what will happen to me and how can I ensure that my birth plan is followed as closely as possible even in the midst of that 'change of plans'?  (For me, this involves things like, how do I make sure I am not left alone in recovery?  (The answer was, tell the doc your mom is the doula and get her scrubs just in case.)  How do I keep the baby with me as soon as possible after surgery?  How do I initiate breastfeeding right away? Etc.) 

- Do you typically practice rooming-in here?  Is there any reason that someone might want to take the baby to the nursery?  Will anyone stop me from following the baby if someone has to take her/him out of our room for any reason? 

- How quickly can I be discharged?  What is the process for getting out of here earlier than a standard stay? 


I'm sure there's more, but those are the questions that occur to me right now.  If I think of more, I'll post them!

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#3 of 3 Old 03-30-2011, 07:32 AM
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A little late here I guess, but how did it go? 


I don't remember specifically what questions were asked during my tour of our local birth center, but I remember feeling very confident and well-informed when we left.  Their tour involved a presentation by one of the midwives, as well as literally walking through the building and talking about each room.  They did not give evasive or generic answers like "whenever needed"  to questions, like like you often hear at hospitals who don't directly tell you how many women refuse certain services or how many procedures they perform.   They were very upfront with their statistics on interventions, complications, and hospital transfers, etc.  From the webpage in your link, it appears this birth center is also very thorough with providing information.

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