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Do You Really Know Your Hospital? 

One of the more common upsets for laboring couples is a last minute surprise on the part of the hospital. 

Couples are often told from hospital staff that they can have the options that they want, but when they show up at the hospital, they are surprised to find out that there are extenuating circumstances that do not allow for their wishes.  Obviously, these surprises have a big impact on the type of birthing experience the couple wanted.

When choosing a doctor, a couple should also interview the hospital that the doctor uses.  A doctor may be "fabulous," but it is the hospital that really determines the experience. 

When asking questions about a hospital, be very specific.  When asking if they allow the options that you want, don’t just accept a yes or no answer.  Ask under what circumstances an option may be unavailable or not allowed.

Here are some examples of “misunderstandings” with hospitals:

  • Does the baby stay with mom the whole time? 

    This is also referred to as “Rooming In”.  While hospitals offer this, many don’t tell you that they still want to take the baby to the nursery for a “short time” for various procedures or observation before the baby can stay with you.                 
  • Are couples allowed to photograph and video the birth? 

    Some hospitals don’t allow full frontal shots or footage of the delivery.  There is at least one hospital in the LA area that does not allow any photos of the delivery itself and the video camera must be off during the delivery and during any other procedures.
  • Does the hospital have lactation consultants? 

    Most do, but on a very part time basis.  Chances are you’ll miss her if you deliver during her off time.

So, if you have some specific ideas about how you want to deliver your baby, be sure that your hospital as well as your doctor will support your choices.  And ask a lot of questions!

This Belly Scoop has been sponsored by Margie Levy, mother of two and a DONA certified doula providing supportive doula services for labor and delivery.  She practices in the greater Los Angeles area and can be reached at 818-994-6800 or through her website at

Margie has so much information to share so call her today for a free consultation.  It's a chance for you to get to know her and see if she can help you realize the birth you want for your child.  (She also is experienced in massage, aromatherapy, reiki, hypnosis, relaxation, breathing.... need we say more??)





Margie Levy,
supportive labor and delivery doula


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