How I Chose the Right Hospital For My Delivery
I happened to switch three doctors in the nine months of my pregnancy. A different doctor in every new trimester though, that is not how I wanted it. Pregnancy is a beautiful and unforgettable forty weeks journey, made or marred by the doctors you choose. I had to change doctors, not because I wasn’t comfortable with them, but because of some unavoidable situations.
I delivered in Abuja, a fairly new area for me and my family, which made it even more difficult for us to decide where to deliver. We got in touch with friends in and around Abuja; each had a different experience to share about the various famous hospitals.
We searched the internet; also checked the Facebook/google reviews of the hospitals. My Ob-Gynae (Obstetrician-Gynaecologist) was a visiting doctor; she was attached to most of the top-rated hospitals in Abuja but left it up to me to decide where to deliver. We visited two of the hospitals that we had shortlisted, did a hospital tour and then came to decide where we wanted to have our baby.
It is important to have a good doctor first; the hospital can be decided after choosing the doctor. Your task will be simplified if the doctor himself/herself suggests you the hospital.
Here are some factors you should keep in mind when deciding on which hospital to use for your delivery:
- Proximity to where you live: It is advisable to choose a hospital that you can reach in twenty to thirty minutes. Please consider the traffic at the oddest hours, babies come unannounced and I am sure you wouldn’t want to deliver in a car, stuck in traffic. Though, that would make a great birth story to tell.
- The hospital should be able to handle any emergency that may arise and also should have in-house or a reputed blood-banks and laboratory among other things.
- Budget of delivery:
- If you have insurance, check with your insurance company about which hospital you can use and what is going to be covered by the company.
- Check the hospital’s successful c-section delivery rate and normal delivery rate.
You should also ask some questions from your prospective hospital before making up your mind:
- Do they offer special birthing/delivery packages? Two of the hospitals we checked had the same package rate for c-section and normal deliveries. Only one extra room night was added to the cost of c-section as one needs to stay a bit longer in c-section deliveries.
- Are consumables included or excluded in the package? Most hospitals exclude the charges for all consumables. You can, however, take an approximate idea for that additional sum to be sure of how much you would be billed for at the end.
- Are there any hidden charges, like for printing of reports etc.? I was told that many hospitals have these charges. The hospital where I delivered, however, had no such charge.
- Do they allow the spouse to be present in the delivery room? This was my first question. I was very particular that my husband is allowed inside the delivery room. I wanted him to witness the birth of our baby and be a part of it.
- Who can stay with me in the hospital? Some hospitals have rules of permitting only ladies to accompany the new mother. Please find it out and prepare accordingly.
- What kind of post-natal assistance is given in the hospital? I did not know if any such thing is required, however, a postnatal body needs as much care as a pregnant body, or even more. It is important that the hospital has a dedicated nurse for the new mom. All the required assessments are conducted for both mom and the newborn.
- Does the hospital have lactation consultants? Lactation consultant’s guide on breastfeeding and various issues related to breastfeeding are really necessary. Most of the good hospitals have lactation consultants. They will also help you burst numerous myths that surround breastfeeding.
- Does the hospital have a Neonatologist (i.e. a pediatrician specialized in newborn care)? As a new mom, it is important that you have someone who specializes in newborn baby care. Hospitals have neonatologists, but mostly they don’t guide the mothers on newborn care. I was lucky enough to have our doctor explain everything on day 0.
- How long will I have to stay in both the for either c-section or vaginal delivery? This question will help you prepare for your stay in the hospital.
- Would the siblings be allowed in the labor and delivery room?
- Hospitals a have restrictions in permitting siblings/kids on the patient floors, and labor and delivery rooms, however, it could be checked in advance.
- What is the nurse and patient ratio? Nurse patient ratio will help you determine how well you would be looked after. The lesser, the better for you.