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Why a Pregnant Woman Should Do a Hospital Tour Before Giving Birth
PHOTO BY @DragonImages/iStock
  • You’re on the last stretch of your third trimester and you’re doing great. You got pregnancy down pat, and you’re ready for D-day. Your three hospital bags are packed (yes, three!) you have your birthing plan ready, and have chosen your baby’s name. Heck, you even have the christening all planned out already! But wait, aren’t you forgetting something? Between then and now, you still have to give birth!

    Whether you’ll be delivering your baby in a hospital (check out maternity package costs), a lying-in clinic, or a birthing home, make time to look into it as part of your childbirth preparations.

    In an interview by SmartParenting.com.ph in 2015 about her birthing story, radio personality Andi Manzano-Reyes, who had given birth to her firstborn Olivia only a few months prior, mentioned that her preparations included visiting her hospital of choice.

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    “Before my due date, we made it a point to go to Makati Med and do the whole tour, so that we could envision it and we’d know what’s going to happen. I didn’t want to freak out on the day I would give birth,” Andi said. 

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    The Reyeses made their hospital visit count. “We met the nurses, I chose my room already, I even sat on the bed and said, ‘This is where I’m giving birth.’ It helped because when I got there [on the day I was to give birth] I was comfortable already, the nurses knew us, and they were cheering me on.”

    One other important thing Andi and husband GP Reyes did was to anticipate the travel from their home to the hospital, given the unpredictable traffic situations. “We also practiced going to the hospital, like what route to take, and we timed it. We were highly prepared in that way,” she shared.

    That said, a hospital tour is really vital for a smooth and hassle-free childbirth. Here are a few more reasons why you should do one.

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    Why you need to do a hospital tour before you give birth

    To check possible routes

    If staying at a place closer to the hospital is not an option, all the more that you should practice driving there weeks before your due date. Which route is faster? Are there any roads to the hospital that are closed at a certain time (e.g., private subdivisions) in case you need to go in the wee hours of the night? Are there road works that could slow you down? 

    To familiarize yourself with the hospital layout

    Which way is the most accessible parking area? Which floor is the maternity ward? Where do you go for admission? These are things you would be glad you found out about in calmer conditions and not while enduring contractions.

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    To ask if you can have a walk-through

    For most first-time moms, childbirth is associated with fear. Much of this fear is because of the unknown — they have no idea what will happen to them once they get admitted into the hospital. So, ask the staff if it’s possible to have a wak-through of the delivery process, from the time you are admitted until you are discharged. A lot of things still would not go as planned on the day you will give birth, but knowing what to expect can at least minimize your jitters.

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    To get answers to your questions

    As you do the tour, you’ll come up with more questions, no doubt — and that’s good. Now is the time to ask them! Some of these could be about:

    • hospital rates and professional fees (each of your doctors would charge a different fee), just in case you haven’t inquired about this yet
    • pain management options
    • policies on the use of recording equipment, such as a camera, in case you want to record your child's birth (in the Philippines, there is some sensitivity to the matter because of issues on doctor-shaming)
    • policies on the use of feeding bottles
    • breastfeeding counseling, and other support services

    Giving birth to your baby is momentous; it's something you will cherish and remember forever. Preparing for it will ensure that you not only have good memories to look back on, but also that you will welcome your child into this world in the best way possible.

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    About to give birth? Most women hope for a vaginal delivery, but here are 10 reasons why your doctor would perform an emergency C-section on you. 

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