Q: How do I choose a hospital for delivery if I’m expecting multiples?
A: Finding the right hospital to deliver your higher-multiples is an important decision, especially since they are likely to be born prematures. The best hospital may not be the closest; a family expecting triplets or more should seriously reveiw available hospitals. The mother may need to move closer to the hospital before labor beings, and if the family is some distance away, it is best to move by 24 weeks gestation.
When choosing a hospital, parents should check the level of the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Level III are the highest meaning they have the most sophisticated care for babies born preterm or who have problems soon after delivery. Unless an emergency requires immediate care at the closest medical facility, mothers should deliver higher-order multiple births in a hosptial with a Level III NICU.
First begin by asking your doctor about his or her affiliated hospitals, and check whether the hospital has experience managing higher-order multiple births.
Questions to Ask the Physician about Hospital Options for Delivery:
- Where are you planning to deliver these babies?
- Is there a Level III Nursery?
- How many level III beds do they have?
- At what week gestation would you feel comfortable transferring a baby to a hospital with a Level II nursery.
- Is there a chance that one or more of the babies will need to be transferred to another hospital, and what is that other hospital? This is an important question as transferring may delay treatment and could be the difference between life and death or serious complications.
Other Ways to Find a Level III Neonatal Center or NICU:
- Ask pediatricians
- Call or check the website of a university hospital in your area to find out if they have a Neonatal Department. Be sure to check the website in detail to see what they offer.
- Ask nurses from the local hospitals where they would recommend going if they were expecting triplets (or more).
- Search the Internet