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Visiting maternity unit - what questions to ask?

(18 Posts)
mpops Tue 26-Jul-11 12:28:03

I'm going to be visiting the maternity unit in our local hospital on Thursday, where I'm planning to give birth. I keep thinking I've got loads and loads of questions to ask but when it comes down to making a note of them I get stuck. What should I be looking out for and what should I ask? Any ideas very welcome! Thanks.

ShowOfHands Tue 26-Jul-11 12:31:15

Are there any new advances in medical technology that will allow me to sneeze out this baby?

Where's the bar?

Where are the drugs?

Seriously, what sort of birth are you planning? You could ask about midwife ratios, pool availability, if they have telemetric CTGs (in case of monitoring), how many anaesthetists work in the hospital, visiting hours etc etc. But it depends on your hopes. A lot of it they should cover in the tour anyway.

nocake Tue 26-Jul-11 12:33:57

Ask if there's somewhere for your DP to sleep for a couple of hours after a 4am birth instead of being kicked out and expected to drive home after being awake all night.

mpops Tue 26-Jul-11 12:34:38


I have no idea what type of birth I'm planning really. Still in denial at nearly 30 weeks! So I'm hoping the tour will help me get my head around it all, hence wanting to ask as many questions as possible.

allthefires Tue 26-Jul-11 12:35:42

I expect alot will be covered in tour.

Ask if they have a hosp bag list.

What are arrangements for admission/ parking.

Limits on birthing partners/visitors.

Dont worry about if you forget to ask them you can always ring and ask later.

cmt1375 Tue 26-Jul-11 12:39:45

which doors are open out of hours?
how parking works eg, can you be dropped off at front door and car then moved, can ticket be extended if you are in for a few days?
Can you use your mobile, or what will you need (card/coins) to make phone calls?
How does baby security work (eg tag in nappy etc)?


harassedandherbug Tue 26-Jul-11 13:02:58

If you're considering a tens machine, ask if they have them or if you have to hire/buy one yourself.

If you're planning on formula feeding, if they supply formula & bottles.

Pootles2010 Tue 26-Jul-11 13:09:14

Gosh suprised they do visits - ours stopped doing them ages ago. But I'm sure it'll be good just to ge a feel for the place.

Is your dp goign with you? Would be a very good idea, so he knows where to park etc.

notcitrus Tue 26-Jul-11 13:30:42

How parking charges work - our hospital you have to pay and display but then the del suite allows you to buy an 'unlimited' parking badge - think it lasts a week by default for £20. Which was great as I stayed in for 3 days after a two-day labour.

Visiting hours, and who is allowed in.
Is there a telly/pile of magazines in the postnatal ward?
Does food get brought to you or do you have to get up and get it (I suggest bringing lots of your own anyway)
What are your chances of getting to use a birthing pool?
How likely are you to get an epidural/how long might you wait for one?
How many birth partners can you have? When do they get kicked out after birth?

mpops Tue 26-Jul-11 14:33:07

Thanks! This is all really useful. And overwhelming!

CrazyAlien06 Tue 26-Jul-11 18:52:26

How did u arrange your visit?I want to visit my hospital but no idea how to o about it... Midwife support is rubbish sad

wompoopigeon Tue 26-Jul-11 19:08:57

Ours has stopped doing tours due to cut backs. sad
I think the most important thing is that you know precisely where to go to in the middle of the night in labour- which door to use, which desk to go to, which telephone number to ring to tell them you're on your way. Wandering wildly about trying to find the right entrance because the day entrance you came in last time is closed- not fun!

AtYourCervix Tue 26-Jul-11 19:14:33

ask them about postnatal care and breastfeeding support.

Rootatoot Tue 26-Jul-11 19:15:44

I found our hospital tour really useful though I've since been admitted twice and haven't had baby yet! They did cover loads of stuff but lots of us also asked questions. I asked to see the ventouse in case I end up with assisted delivery which was reassuring to see.

Questions asked were stuff like where do I go for assessment, then labour/ delivery and post natal? (you'll be shown diff areas and how they arrange things) What do I need to bring with me? (MW said wouldn't need towels or baby bedding but I would def bring your own towel.) Do they provide formula? Ask about equipment like birthing balls, pools etc if you are interested in those. Can I move around during labour if I'm being monitored? Who will be present in delivery room?

The info my MW gave me about hospital tours was out of date. I rang to check arrangements just in case (6th sense!) and they booked me a place. They were lovely & v helpful. Just google your hospital's maternity unit if you don't have their number. Should come up with some info on their website.

I definately massively strongly recommend taking as much food as possible!!! You have to fetch your own food from what they provide at our hospital so if you can't go, then your partner will have to fetch it. There was however, no where near enough food for pregnant/breastfeeding/justgivenbirth mums. Meal times were 7am, 12 noon and 5pm too, so if DH hadn't brought me stuff, I would have been starving in the evening.

I've written too much as usual but HTH.

mpops Tue 26-Jul-11 19:46:28

Thank you, wow!

CrazyAlien, our hospital has tours twice a week and you just turn up. Have you checked with yours? Just give them a ring to ask.

Regarding food: a lot of people have suggested we take loads with us but what type of things are good?

Rootatoot Tue 26-Jul-11 20:02:48

Cereal bars, bananas, apples, cartons fruit juice and stuff that won't melt for general snacks but on my recent stay (3 days) ..DH came every day and brought me sandwiches, some chocolate grin (good for morale!) ...really whatever you can manage to bring in that you fancy. He was set to go to M&S and bring me some nice salad or something if I was in longer. Obv this would need to be daily though as wouldn't keep.

I would say bananas though are really really good for staving off hunger and keeping energy up.

Oh and I wish I'd remembered to take some decaf tea/coffee in. Our hospital operates a fetch it yourself drinks machine which is all caffeinated apart from hot choc and with high bp I need to avoid caffeine.

CrazyAlien06 Tue 26-Jul-11 20:21:31

Thanks mpops I tried looking online but could only find delivery suite number and didn't want to clog it up ! Will call main switchboard of hospital tomorrow :0) really have no idea about having a child lol. Me and DH are going to find this an interesting experience lol x

mpops Wed 27-Jul-11 12:34:01

Thanks Root, that's great. I'm taking notes!

crazyalien, try and find a number for the maternity unit. Where do you go for your scans? They should be able to tell you there as well. Or your midwife might know!

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