Belly Up

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Crowd Sourcing - Where to Deliver Your Baby

I was involved in a online conversation this week about choosing the best hospital to deliver a baby.  This group was not a birth group, it was a local group where people crowd source all kinds of questions that pertain to community members so questions about reasonable landscaping services and queries as to the best Mexican restaurant are thrown together with questions like “what is the best hospital to have a baby?”.  This particular question got more replies than most of the threads except those about the best local Mexican restaurant. People have strong opinions about where to have babies and where to eat tacos!
I like Mexican food as much as the next gal, but opinions on food and opinions on hospitals deserve to be answered differently.  Finding the best enchilada is worth an online conversation but going to the wrong hospital might get you unnecessary major abdominal surgery or a baby in the NICU.  In this conversation I saw a lot more comments about delivering at such and such hospital because the food was good and rooms large and pretty than I saw advice on where to have a healthy and evidenced based birth.  One commentator went so far as to recommend her hospital of choice because the room had a large flat screen TV on the wall.  I know priorities are going to be different for everyone, but when having a baby *most* people’s biggest concern is probably not how the TV is mounted in the room.
Choosing a hospital involves a lot of things, including choosing a care provider with privileges there, but a few simple questions to ask no matter what type of birth you are planning can help you dig a little deeper.  If you are planning a natural birth then there are more, but here a few that move past the good food and pretty rooms stage.
* What is the c-section rate at your hospital? (if they don;t know or won’t tell you check out rates at http://www.cesareanrates.com/hospital-level-cesarean-rates/ )
* Are babies routinely taken away from mom at any point after delivery?
* Is your hospital designated Baby friendly? https://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/
* What routine interventions can I expect?
* Do you offer Family Center Cesareans?
* How many of your deliveries are induced?  Do you do elective inductions prior to 39 weeks? http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/pregnancy-39weeks.aspx
I think crowd sourcing is an excellent resource for expecting family, however, if you see people recommending their care provider or their hospital, I do encourage you do dig a little deeper.  If you dig deeper and find a hospital that meets your expectations and needs then you can ask about the TV!

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