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Should I go on a hospital tour?

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Is going on a tour worth it?

Pregnancy involves soaking in a lot of information and asking a lot of questions. Many expectant moms find a hospital tour helpful when it comes to preparing for labor and delivery.
Pregnant woman at the hospital

If you’re on the fence, check out these reasons to tour the hospital before birth.

Labor and delivery wards and birthing centers offer tours to expecting moms. These free tours help parents get a sense of where and how birth will take place. It’s a great opportunity to ask questions and hone a birth plan. Find out how you can benefit from going on a hospital tour.

You’re not familiar with the hospital

When it’s go-time, the last thing you want to do is figure out how to get to the hospital and what you need to do when you get there. Going on a hospital tour gives you and your partner the details on where to park and how to get to the labor and delivery area of the hospital.

You’re nervous about labor and delivery

It’s completely normal to be nervous about labor and delivery. Visiting the hospital and seeing where you’ll give birth can help with some of your anxiety. Even if you’re having a scheduled C-section, it helps to see where you’ll be. Bring a notebook and ask questions.

Learn what to expect when labor is induced >>

You like having everything mapped out

Are you soothed by lists and being in control? Going on a hospital tour can help you structure your birth plan, including what type of room you’d like and what kinds of labor tools and methods you can use. For example, you can find out if the labor and delivery suites offer bathtubs or showers.

Find out why doulas are becoming more popular >>

You have specific needs

Whether you have a high-risk pregnancy or a very specific birth plan, your hospital tour will give you the opportunity to find out what types of accommodations can be made at the hospital. Most tours also include a brief visit to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), which can be comforting for many parents.

Moms chime in: What I liked most about the hospital tour

  • “Had I not gone on the tour, we probably never would have found L&D,” says new mom Kate, who adds that she liked learning where the good snacks could be found.
  • Daisy says she liked, “Knowing where the NICU was (one floor down!). Silly at first but invaluable once she arrived. Also, where to valet the car!”
  • “I like to have a mental picture in my head of where I'm going to be — so it helped prepare me,” says Jackie.
  • Charlotte took a tour, but says, “The only thing I remembered when I went back in labor was the emergency entrance for pregnant ladies.”
  • "I learned that there was only one suite with a tub," says Kate. "So I did everything in my power to get that suite since I wanted to labor in the water. I did get it, because I also knew to ask for it. Worth the tour right there."

More on labor and delivery

Plan a natural birth in six easy steps
Only a midwife for me
Mom story: I helped deliver my own grandkids

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