There are so many important things you begin to prepare for when you first find out you are pregnant. You start analyzing what changes need to be made around the house, you start shopping for baby gear, and you may start perusing maternity clothes. But one of the most crucial parts of pregnancy you should be prepared for is your labor and delivery day, and that starts with registering. But when do you register at the hospital for delivery?
Romper asked maternity consultant, baby planner, and birth and postpartum doula, Jessica Zablan, of the Birth and Baby Company. She says that when you should register at your hospital really depends on which hospital you choose. “Around 28 weeks, or the start of the third trimester, is a good time to start looking into registering for your hospital," she says.
So what does hospital registration entail? According to Very Well, when you register, you usually give the hospital information about you, including pregnancy details and your insurance or payment information. The article explained that pre-registering at the hospital helps the hospital plan for resources and services you may need during delivery ahead of time. For you, registration provides peace of mind, because it will give you the convenience of skipping any form filling or waiting time while you are in labor. And trust me, if you hate waiting and filling out forms now, you won’t have any patience for it when your contractions hit. (Like, literally none.)
Along with avoiding any headaches on the day of your delivery, Zablan says that registering can get you familiar with the hospital and its services. Before you register or choose a hospital, she suggests taking a tour and maybe even a childbirth education class to get yourself acquainted with the facility. “This is where you are going to learn about what the hospital has to offer, what their protocols are, where to go when you are in labor, and if the hospital is the right fit for you,” Zablan says. Usually, after the tour, the hospital will ask you if you're ready to register.
Once you are finished with registration, Zablan recommends asking the staff for a copy of your registration forms so you can keep them in your hospital bag with all your important papers.
But before you do anything, you should find out if you need to register at all. “Some hospitals don't need you to register because your provider might be in the system," adds Zablan. And, for example, if your doctor’s office is within the hospital, she suggests that you ask them if you need to register. When I had my kids, my doctors were part of the hospital’s network, so I did not have to register. Although I still asked to get a tour of the hospital so that I knew where I had to go on the big day. This can eliminate a lot of anxiety.
Once you settle into your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to start getting familiar with the hospitals in your area, and scheduling tours if needed. Talk to your partner and family and see if they will join you, because you never know who will end up driving you to the hospital when you’re in labor. This way, your whole support team can be informed and ready when you need them. You can also enlist the help of a maternity planner, like Zablan, who can help guide you through the process. There’s so much to prepare for when you are having a baby, but with the right planning and support, your journey should be pretty smooth.
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