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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Hospital Tours: Why do they matter?

By January 17, 2013

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Hospital Tour Door #1

The hospital tour is something that some moms-to-be don't really give a second thought about. You either do it and get wowed by the "show" or you skip it thinking it doesn't really matter anyway. Both attitudes are usually wrong.

Let's address the show first. This is where they show a whole group of pregnant moms the biggest and best room. A room that usually has a fancy bed spread and is prepared just for the tour. This is the one bed spread the hospital owns. I can almost guarantee you that you won't see it when you show up to have your baby. Not all the rooms look like this one, they aren't as big and the furniture is not always as functional. (Think of that crazy wheeled grocery cart you always wind up with...) This room is a bit too perfect, and for good reason. It's not a typical room. Sure, the medical "stuff" is hidden and that's fine, it's the bling that gets me on these tours - the Laura Ashley bed spreads, the music, the birth ball. If you see it on your tour, ask what the chances are you'll see it when you have your baby. Remember, at the end of the day - the tour is a sales pitch and the nurse is a great realtor.

Thinking of skipping the tour?  (Particularly after the above commentary?) Well, don't.  The tour is worth it. This is your chance to ask a lot of really good questions about how the hospital will function when you have your baby. The answers, and non-answers, can tell you a lot about the climate, particularly around topics that may be important to you, including baby care, pain relief options, water birth, rooming in, etc.

May advice? To get the most out of the tour take people with you, even your doula if you have one. Prepare a list of questions to ask on the tour, from the mundane (Which door should we come in at 3 a.m.?) to the specific (What's your policy for the number of people in the room at the time of birth?). Tour multiple hospitals, even if you are pretty sure you know where you will wind up. This helps give you perspective as the buyer.

What did you think of your hospital tour?

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