If you're an expecting parent with an upcoming hospital delivery, you might wonder if you should schedule a hospital tour beforehand. If your hospital offers this, it's a great idea to get one scheduled. Familiarizing yourself with the hospital before delivery is one way to ease your mind for an otherwise unpredictable and long, stressful day.

You can test run where to park, identify the quickest way to enter, know where the emergency room entrance is just in case, and overall feel more confident when it's go time. In addition, going on a hospital tour is the perfect way to get all your questions answered.

We asked Dr. Rachel Shepherd, MD, OB-GYN, and Jana Ohara, Registered Nurse and former Director of Patient Safety at University Health Systems, what questions someone should ask on a maternity hospital tour. Here's what they recommend.

What questions should you ask on your hospital tour?

  1. Can I see the labor and postpartum room?
  2. Is this a teaching hospital? *A teaching hospital is a hospital or medical center that provides medical education and training to future and current health professionals. Teaching hospitals are almost always affiliated with one or more universities and are often co-located with medical schools.
  3. If you're delivering at a teaching hospital, what are your rights? Can you decline training from a student?
  4. Do you have an antepartum unit? (Where pregnant women are admitted if needed but before they deliver)
  5. Do you send babies to the newborn nursery or keep the babies with the mother?
  6. Is that an added cost or included if I send my baby to the newborn nursery?
  7. What is your hospital's c-section rate?
  8. Have you had any recent falls of mothers post-delivery?
  9. Will I pre-register to help speed things up the day of delivery?
  10. What are your current COVID-19 protocols?
  11. How many visitors can I have in the labor room?
  12. How many visitors can I have in the postpartum room?
  13. What breastfeeding resources do you have?
  14. What prenatal or parenting classes do you offer?
  15. Are all rooms private?
  16. Are med students able to observe delivery? If so, do I have the option to decline them inside my room?
  17. If my baby has to go to the NICU, how long would it be until I can go to see him or her?
  18. Where would I park on the day of delivery? *Parking can be super confusing at most hospitals, so it's good to do a test run before your delivery.
  19. Is outside food allowed to be delivered?
  20. Are the meals included if I order food from the hospital, or will I be billed separately?
  21. What is the average length of stay after vaginal delivery and after a c-section?
  22. Where do you do circumcisions? Who does them?
  23. What non-medicinal aids do you offer to help with labor (those big bouncy ball things, bath/shower, etc.)?
  24. Do you have in-house OBGYNs if my MD can't make it in quickly enough?
  25. What happens if no doctor is available? (Are the nurses competent enough to deliver the baby, and does this happen often?)
Download all 25 questions for your tour.

It's your right to get answers to questions that are important to you— and every parent deserves to feel empowered during their delivery.

We hope these questions help you and your growing family.