6 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 for you to ask that can help ensure you have the right facility.

1. 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 special wards in the hospital where babies delivered early ("preemies") or those that have complications during birth are watched, monitored and cared for by experienced nurse and physician teams.

2. Does the hospital have a maternal fetal medicine specialist?

A maternal fetal medicine specialist provides advanced care for high-risk pregnancies, including closely monitoring mom and baby prior to delivery. You may be referred to a maternal fetal medicine specialist if you have serious medical conditions, such as asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes or are over the age of 35.

3. 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 the NICU and be 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 on their own, are feeding well, and can stay warm without an incubator.

4. Does the hospital have a Level IV NICU?

Hospitals with a Level IV NICU have advanced pediatric expertise across a wide range of potential pediatric conditions. Services include the surgical repair of complex congenital or acquired conditions, cooling therapy for infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, care of infants with chronic lung disease and a team of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists and pediatric anesthesiologists on-site.

5. Does the hospital have a maternal special care unit?

When the mother has a serious health problem, the stress of childbirth can be life-threatening. This service provides 24-hour critical care support of pregnant women with serious conditions, such as pulmonary embolisms, severe diabetes and high blood pressure.

6. What happens if you choose a hospital that doesn't have a NICU?

If you have complications during birth and 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. It can affect everyone in your family.

No matter where your pregnancy journey takes you, the teams at the Detroit Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Michigan are ready for you.

Our services for moms and babies include:

  • Maternal fetal medicine physicians
  • Dedicated special care maternal unit
  • Special care and NICUs in all our birthing locations
  • A Level IV NICU at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, which has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report
  • Panda One, which is a dedicated intensive care transport team to bring children across Michigan to Children’s Hospital of Michigan

This is the compassionate and expert care you and your baby deserve.

To learn more about delivering your baby at the hospitals of the DMC, please click here.

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