Teenagers generally spend about two years researching and touring prospective colleges, hoping they find just the right fit.

Drivers spend countless hours, days and months car shopping. They read web reviews, scour the internet for pictures, and go on several test drives.

This got me thinking…

Why do we spend so much time researching some life decisions, but often skimp out on researching where we will deliver our babies?

Pregnant women often find out they are pregnant, and figure that they will deliver wherever their current doctor or midwife delivers. There’s nothing wrong with this. Honestly, nothing at all. That works for a lot of people and I completely respect that choice.

But, halfway through my pregnancy, it didn’t work for me. ( More on this later) So I decided to shop around and see what else was out there. I found most hospital websites only dedicated one tiny webpage to their maternity services, generally thrown together with a stock photo of a happy mom holding a baby, or just the outside of their building. I also found out that most moms-to-be toured during their third trimester, to understand how the event will take place.

What happens if you get a bad feel for the venue? What if you’d like to see what other options are out there for you? The great news is that YOU CAN!

Hubby and I in a photo booth!

I toured five different hospitals in Rhode Island, and couldn’t believe how easy the process was. I asked many questions on each tour, and in the end felt incredibly informed. Each tour only took me about twenty minutes. I would also set up additional appoinments with a doctor or midwife who delivered at that particular hospital. In the end, I ended up switching hospitals and care providers at 31 weeks in my pregnancy. Even though I was well in to my third trimester, I felt incredibly confident about this decision.

I recommend women tour birthing facilities at any stage in their pregnancy – heck – even before they get pregnant. Know what’s out there, shop around. See where you feel comfortable, meet new doctors, and find out what birthing options are available near you. You’ll never know what’s out there until you take a peek! If nothing else, you will become much more informed and confident about the decisions about your body and your tiny baby.

Have you ever changed doctors (any type of doctor)? Was it difficult?