Delivery Nurse Shares 8 Tips for Choosing a Maternity Hospital

You’re having a baby. You’ve prepared the crib, picked out clothes, talked about names and dreamed of your baby’s future. During all your planning, remember that where your baby is born is one of the most important decisions you and your family will make—choosing a hospital is a significant milestone. So naturally, you want to find the best hospital for your labor and delivery with a care team prepared to help you welcome your newest family member.

CHRISTUS Health’s Kelley Vetkoetter, RN, has developed eight important tips about what to look for and what you need to know based on her experience as a labor and delivery nurse. Kelley works at CHRISTUS Health’s Shreveport Bossier - Highland Medical Center.

As a mom and a nurse, she says that picking a hospital for delivery is crucial, and you – as a mother – should be prepared in the following way.

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1. Learn From Your Labor and Delivery Team

The most important thing for an expecting mother is to be prepared. Learn as much as possible about the labor and delivery process, talk to your doctor or midwife and make a birth plan.

Ask your doctor or midwife about the signs of labor so you know when to go to the hospital or birth center. Your care team will want to know when your contractions started and how far apart they are.

Your baby’s birth may not go according to plan. You need to prepare for the unexpected, as complications can arise during labor and delivery. In addition, for a natural birth, you may need extra support and guidance to help you through the process.

2. Build Rapport and Trust

When you choose a hospital, you’re also choosing your care team. You need a labor and delivery nurse you feel comfortable with and can trust who will support and guide you through the entire birth of your baby. Then, if any complications arise during labor or delivery, you’ll know you’re in good hands.

If complications arise or an expectant mother has a high-risk pregnancy, rapport becomes even more important. You want a nurse you can trust throughout your birthing experience.

3. Actively Engage in the Admissions Process

Hospital Associates will explain what to expect during the admission process and answer all your questions.

You may be anxious and excited; however, actively participating in the admission process will help you feel more confident and also help build a better rapport with the nursing staff.

4. Learn About Post Birth Services

After the baby is born, parents can still call the hospital with any questions or concerns they may have. In addition, lactation consultants are available to help parents with breastfeeding questions or problems.

5. Bond with Baby

Bonding is vital for babies. It helps them feel safe and loved and can positively impact their development. Without bonding, babies can feel isolated and alone. Bonding also helps parents feel more connected to their children.

Some hospitals have a separate bonding room for mothers whose babies are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This room allows the mother and father to spend more private time with their baby before going home. For example, at CHRISTUS Shreveport Bossier-Highland Medical Center, the NICU is down the hall close to the bonding room, so parents can easily access the space to spend time with their baby. Parents feel less separated from their new baby when they spend time in the bonding room.

6. Go to a Hospital that Has Core Values

Kindness is one of the most important core values for nurses, as it is essential in building trust and rapport with patients. Nursing is more than providing medical care; it is also about being there and advocating for patients in every way possible. CHRISTUS Health is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system dedicated to extending the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. We provide high-quality, compassionate care to all people, with a special focus on those who are most vulnerable.

When you give birth at a CHRISTUS Health hospital, you can feel confident in our core values which include dignity, excellence, justice, service and stewardship. These values guide everything we do, from the care we provide to how we treat our Associates.

7. Help with Postpartum Depression

Many women experience postpartum depression following the birth of their baby. CHRISTUS Health uses a group of questions to measure postpartum depression, which they encourage new moms to complete before they go home. This gives them time to reflect on their baby’s delivery and if they are experiencing any sadness. New moms have privacy while answering the questions so they can respond honestly about their feelings. CHRISTUS Health wants our new moms to know they are not alone and that we will help.

8. Breastfeeding Support

Whether or not you choose to breastfeed your baby is a personal decision. Many new moms want to breastfeed but need extra support. CHRISTUS Health hospitals offer support and information on breastfeeding that will help you troubleshoot any problems and answer any questions you may have.