Top 5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Birth Facility

Sonoma County is a beautiful place to raise a family and becoming a mom to Leo has completely changed my life.

Holding our little Leonardo at two weeks old

Choosing where to have your baby is an important decision and as a first time mom, I didn’t really know what to look for, especially when it came to things like doulas and alternative birthing techniques. Here, St. Joseph Health and I share the top 5 questions we think are most important to ask when evaluating a birthing facility:

1. Will the hospital provide doula services if I need them?

St. Joseph Health: This differs from hospital to hospital. It’s important to research your options ahead of time and plan for what you’d like for your childbirth experience. At Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, all of our nurses are doula trained and can provide you doula support as needed or desired.

2. How many people can be present in the room during the birth?

Audra: Mothers have varying preferences about who is present in the room when they give birth. Some women prefer one support partner, whereas others may want the whole family or several friends present for the experience. Ask the birthing center how many people are permitted to be in the room during birth, as that may vary, according to location or space regulations.

3. What is the importance of holding and having time with the baby immediately after birth instead of getting whisked away?

St. Joseph Health: The first 60 minutes after delivery is referred to as the Golden Hour. Studies have shown that skin-to-skin bonding between a mother and her baby during this time has many benefits including helping the mother’s breast milk to come in, easing breastfeeding, and strengthening the bond between mother and child. Baby’s suckling on mother’s breasts even releases hormones causing the uterus to contract and stop bleeding. The best place for baby that first hour is skin-to-skin on mom’s chest close to her heart, or alternately on dad or a support person if mom is unavailable.

4. What are the visiting hours?

Audra: Some birth centers welcome visitors at anytime and others may have special visiting hours, so if you are excited to have family and friends meet baby at the birthing facility, ask what their policy is on visitors.

5. How do I determine if the hospital staff is sensitive, prompt, and competent?

St. Joseph Health: From the moment you arrive to the minute you leave the staff at your birthing facility should be educating you and keeping you informed. Choosing a hospital that practices bedside reports and includes a patient in the plan of care can go a long way in assuring this type of service. You want a team that does things with you, not to you!

Hard to believe he's nine months old now!

Having a baby is life-changing experience and choosing the right birthing facility for your needs is so important. Be sure to ask any and all questions you have when evaluating the birth center, so you can go into your childbirth experience feeling confident.

If you are located in the Northern California area, I recommend checking out St. Joseph Health and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as an option for your delivery.

Mamas out there, is there anything we missed? Send me a DM on Instagram with any questions you think are important to ask when choosing a birthing facility.


Stephanie Hopkins Photography

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