When you are pregnant there a big list of things to do and high up on that list is a hospital walk around. A time to go and see the delivery suites and find out where everything will be happening when baby decides to make an appearance.

As usual I forgot to book this in early on and by the time I remembered the only available appointment was three weeks before my due date. Not a problem at all I thought, at least it will be fresh in my mind.

The tours are normally a chance to see where you will be having your baby and ask any questions. It can be useful to see the rooms and understand what will happen on the day. A lot of hospitals also have a choice of birthing centres or specific rooms for water births so this allows you to decide on any preferences you might have.

Turns out I never got to that hospital tour as at 35 weeks I went from healthy and well to being in hospital every day for bloods and all the fun stuff due to complications. On the day I was induced I was just told to arrive at the delivery suite and that was that. I obviously knew the hospital after spending an inordinate amount of time there but didn’t know where the delivery suite was. We simply followed signs and sat and waited. When they took me through to the delivery room I remember being pleasantly surprised. Yes it was obviously a hospital but it was quite spacious and it had an ensuite which was a big plus given that I was going to be hooked up to a drip and all kinds of monitors. Doesn’t make heading to the toilet that easy!

To be completely honest I don’t think it affected things by not having been to see the delivery suite first. I didn’t feel lost or unsure about what was happening. I guess maybe that’s because I was entering the unknown anyway!! I am also quite a relaxed person but I know it can be give great peace of mind and also in a way be a fun part of the pregnancy.

Lisa on the other hand had a tour with both her pregnancies so I thought it would be useful to share another opinion. “The hospital walkarounds were an absolute essential in my prep for the birth of both my bubbas. I wanted to envisage the space and meet the staff and most importantly, find out about the food arrangements. (Was there a kitchen? Was there a vending machine? Did they do chocolate hobnobs?!) During the walkaround prior to Lyra’s arrival I felt quite emotional when the midwife was talking about the birth and she came and gave me a huge hug. And lo and behold, when I went into labour, who was allocated to be my midwife but that same lovely midwife. (Due to shifts she wasn’t there when Lyra was actually born but that’s a whole different story for another day).”

I do definitely see the benefits of the hospital tour, especially if it is a hospital you are unsure of or have never visited. I’d spent a lot of time there before the birth visiting a family member and then with my checkups so I’d had time to figure out important things like the fact that there was a coffee shop and the parking machine took cards. Honestly, these things are good to know.

What I would say is if you choose not to have a hospital tour or run out of time like me then it is still worth doing a bit of a recce. You want to make sure you know the route to the hospital and some alternatives should there be any issues. I’m lucky my hospital was only ten minutes away and I know the area very well so there was no panicking. What we weren’t prepared for though was the rubbish parking. I obviously wasn’t in the midst of a contraction as I was going in to be induced. If I had been then sitting in a queue of traffic trying to find a space would not have been much fun. Know what your options are and if you are happy to be dropped at the door whilst your other half goes off to park.

By not going on the tour I didn’t get the chance to ask those important questions like can you take photos or what are the visiting hours. Nor what essentials I needed to bring with me (if you need to know this then check out our handy hospital bag post here). Just to make it easy for you we’ve included a little list below for you. I’m sure there will be more questions we’ve missed so please do share any useful information below. Maybe don’t ask what the net by the water pool is for though 🙂

{Pin The Hospital Tour Questions}

Questions to ask on your hospital tour when pregnant

Image by Gabrielle Bower.