8 Things to Ask When Choosing Where to Have Your Baby
If you have any conditions that make your pregnancy higher risk, there's no more important decision to consider than which hospital you choose for delivery. The following are some tips to ask that can help ensure you have the right facility.
Does the hospital have fetal care services?
Fetal care or fetal medicine focuses on diagnosing, managing and providing treatment for health concerns that a pregnant woman and her baby may experience before, during and immediately after pregnancy. It is important to start fetal care early to identify potential health risks and congenital conditions and prevent or treat them as early as possible. Getting checked early also helps the doctor determine if the mother needs a referral to a high-risk pregnancy doctor or other resources necessary for a safe labor and delivery.
Does the hospital have a dedicated fetal care center with all care options in one location?
A fetal care center provides comprehensive fetal care for prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies to prepare for timely and successful post-delivery treatment. While you may choose among several fetal care centers, how is that care provided? Having all services and specialists in one location is not only convenient for patients but facilitates ongoing collaboration across pediatric specialists. Having a fetal care center that allows you to deliver at your hospital of choice, with your doctor of choice, is another important consideration; you want a fetal care center that will partner with your provider to meet you and your baby's unique needs.
Does the hospital have a maternal-fetal medicine physician?
A maternal-fetal medicine physician provides advanced care for high-risk pregnancies, including closely monitoring mom and baby before delivery. These doctors are obstetricians who also completed three additional years of high-risk pregnancy training. You may be referred to a maternal-fetal medicine physician if you have serious medical conditions, such as asthma, high blood pressure or diabetes, or if any serious abnormalities are suspected with your unborn child.
Does the hospital have a maternal special care unit?
When the mother or unborn child has a serious health problem, the stress of childbirth can be life-threatening. A maternal special care unit provides 24-hour critical care support for pregnant women with serious conditions like pulmonary embolisms, severe diabetes and high blood pressure.
What happens if your baby arrives "early"?
Any baby born before 37 weeks gestation is considered "premature." Every effort will be made to avoid delivery before that time for the health of you and your baby, but if your baby is a preemie, here's what is likely to happen. Your baby will be cared for in a newborn specialty unit and monitored for health issues common to premature babies, such as breathing problems, difficulty feeding and regulating body temperature. In general, preemies can go home when they can breathe independently, are feeding well and stay warm without an incubator.
Does the hospital have advanced care for newborns?
When looking for advanced newborn care, ask if the hospital has a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Unit. These are dedicated units in the hospital where babies delivered early ("preemies") or those born with health challenges are watched, monitored and cared for by experienced nurse and physician teams.
Does the hospital have a Level IV NICU?
Hospitals with a Level IV NICU have advanced pediatric capabilities across many potential pediatric conditions. Services include the surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions, cooling therapy for infants whose brains are suffering from poor blood flow, care of infants with chronic lung disease and a team of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists onsite.
What happens if you choose a hospital that doesn't have a NICU?
If the medical care team determines your baby will benefit from a NICU, your baby is typically rushed via ambulance to a hospital that has the proper level NICU in your community, even if you are not yet discharged. This can be a stressful time for families, something we actively encourage you to carefully consider when choosing a hospital for birth and delivery services. The decision can affect everyone in your family.
No matter where your pregnancy journey takes you, the Detroit Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Michigan teams are ready for you.
Our services for moms and babies include:
- Maternal-fetal medicine physicians
- Dedicated maternal special care unit
- NICUs and Special Care Nurseries in all our birthing locations, including one Level IV NICU (the highest level of care available)
- Dedicated Fetal Care Center
- PANDA One - a dedicated intensive care transport team to bring children across Michigan to Children's Hospital of Michigan
The DMC has the compassionate and advanced care you and your baby deserve.
To learn more about the care that DMC Hospitals and the Children's Hospital of Michigan provide for mothers and babies, please click here.