There’s a hospital just right for you.
Pregnancy and childbirth are an experience to cherish- an intimate journey that you share with family, and with your healthcare providers. Given nine months of pregnancy and at least six months of post-natal care, it is important to choose a hospital that offers the right facilities at the right time.
- Good Quality of Care: Well before your actual delivery, stay tuned for subtle hints about the hospital that interests you. How does the hospital staff behave with you and other expectant moms? What do other moms say about how they were treated during and after their delivery? Top-rated gynaecologists and paediatricians on the staff are a definite plus for clinical care. But empathy and communication from caregivers during delivery is also an important consideration. Learn more about quality of care here.
- Openness with Options: As your due date approaches, has your gynaecologist spoken to you about your preferences? This includes discussing pain management, birth plan (normal or Caesarian section (C-section)) and even episiotomy if required. Ascertain whether an anaesthesiologist will be available for your delivery, and a paediatrician to care for the newborn baby.
- Cashless Operations: If you have an insurance policy in place, choose a hospital that offers a cashless experience. In other words, you submit the bills and the hospital gets paid by your insurance company directly. This is wonderful to have, because it is one less thing to worry about. Keep in mind, though, that discharge procedures at some hospitals take longer if your delivery has been cashless. Similarly, acquaint yourself with the admission fees, timings and and procedures. Particularly ascertain how rapidly you will be checked in and seen to if you show up in labor.
- NICU: If you have a high-risk pregnancy, or are concerned about any possibility of a premature birth, research neonatal hospitals not only with a neonatal special care unit, or NICU (Neonatal intensive care unit), but one that is world-class and adheres to global standards. Ask to speak to the neonatologist who will be handling premature baby care, to understand what facilities are available at the hospital.
- Blood Bank: Childbirth is a natural process, but it is also fraught with risk. Medical technology today is advanced enough to deal with most emergencies, but a hospital without a blood bank may fail at the most basic level of caregiving. If you have preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy, it is absolutely vital to choose a hospital with a blood bank, and ascertain it stocks plenty of your blood type.
- Ultrasound Technology: Today, it is inconceivable that a maternity center wouldn’t have an ultrasound system in place. However, it is always good to ask and be sure. Some hospitals outsource their ultrasound procedures to labs nearby. Knowing where to go saves you a last-minute rush and long waiting times with a full bladder!
- Ambulance: What if your water breaks, or you experience labour pains in the middle of the night and there is no way to get to the hospital? Sudden, unexplained bleeding in the last trimester is often an emergency in itself. It could happen, right? In such cases, an ambulance is your best bet to get to the hospital. Talk to the staff to find out if an ambulance facility is available at your hospital.
- Round-The-Clock Pharmacy: From wet wipes and nose blowers to medicines, babies have quite a few needs in the first few hours of being born. Likewise, you or your little one may need specific medication around the same time. A well-stocked, 24-hour pharmacy attached to the hospital ensures that your family doesn’t have to scramble looking for medication at the eleventh hour.
- Breastfeeding Support/ Lactation Consultant: Breastfeeding is highly recommended as the best nutrition for the child, but some mothers and babies have trouble with the feeding process. Helpful nurses, or a good lactation consultant arranged by your hospital can dispel fears in the first few days and provide the support needed to establish a breastfeeding relationship.
- Patient reviews: If there’s a way to make childbirth easier, who wouldn’t want that! Breathing classes, Lamaze, group maternity exercises and activities are a great way to get to know other expectant moms and swap stories.
Talking to other mothers who have delivered at the hospital(s) you have shortlisted will help a great deal in zeroing in on the one that’s perfect for you, but consulting a review platform such as Together gives you access to the experiences shared by literally hundreds of other moms! This will help you make a confident choice and overcome any fears you may have about childbirth.
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