Parkridge Health System - April 13, 2023

When you're expecting a baby, choosing where to give birth is among the first and most important decisions you will make. You want to make a choice that fits you and your growing family, but the key isn't just finding the best OBGYN and hospital — it's finding the best OBGYN and hospital for you.

We all have different needs, values and goals when it comes to maternity care. Any of those factors affect your prenatal and childbirth plans. You’re going to spend plenty of time with your provider from bump to baby, so, you should feel confident that they will respect your birthing plans while prioritizing what’s in the best interest of you and your child.

But keep in mind that where you receive care is just as important as the person who provides it. When you choose an OBGYN, you're also choosing a hospital. Because many physicians only have admitting privileges at one or two facilities, finding an OBGYN you respect who also practices at a hospital you like is essential.

While searching for the right hospital and OBGYN, consider these variables and determine what is most important to you and your little one.

Choosing the best hospital for you

Though many pregnant people might research OBGYNs before hospitals, you might want to take a broader approach. By envisioning where you would want to be when your baby comes, you'll ultimately be led to the right hospital and the right physician.

The basics

Of course, there are baseline factors to consider in your preliminary search. Where do you live, and how far away are your nearest hospitals? Another important consideration is insurance coverage. Is this hospital in network? You can also schedule a maternity tour to ask your questions in person while getting a better understanding of the hospital. These initial steps will help you hone in on your options.

Birthing experience

When it comes to the specifics surrounding the birth experience itself, you’re likely looking for options compatible with your birthing philosophy. Does a given hospital align with your wants and needs? Don’t be afraid to ask questions like, “Does your hospital place more emphasis on technology or on the body’s ability to give birth?” and “Do you offer rooming-in options?”

Seek out details that will either align with or depart from your preferred birthing philosophy. If a hospital offers birthing suites, ask what features are included, such as comfortable sleeping cots or a private bathroom. Many hospitals value new parents bonding with their baby, so emphasis is placed on minimal separation with delayed cord-clamping, immediate skin-to-skin contact and encouraging breast feeding within the first hour of birth.

If you prefer a more natural birthing experience, birthing tubs are also available. Some hospitals are welcoming of doulas and midwives, even if they do not offer those services themselves.

A hospital can offer an array of amenities to make delivery and postpartum most comfortable, like aromatherapy, music therapy, newborn photos, birthing balls, nitrous oxide and wireless fetal/maternal monitoring.

High-risk pregnancy support and emergency services

People with high-risk pregnancies require special support. Ensuring the hospital chosen is equipped to handle potential emergency situations is critical to feel safe and cared for. For pregnancies that could require special care for infants after birth, choosing a hospital with a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) could be for you. NICUs offer personalized medical care, extra monitoring and specialized staff.

Other considerations matter, too, such as whether the facility has the medical infrastructure required for the individual needs of you and your baby. Looking at a hospital's subspecialists, such as cardiologists and neonatologists, can help you understand what kind of advanced care you could expect if you or your baby need it.

Some hospitals offer maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists during childbirth so assist with any complications. You can also ask about perinatal navigators, who specialize in high-risk pregnancies and help parents-to-be connect with any necessary resources.

Prenatal and postpartum services

Many hospitals provide prenatal care throughout your pregnancy. This can look like ongoing appointments to manage existing conditions and address any concerns, or it could be childbirth classes. Some even have dedicated labor & deliver nurse navigators to help make your visit as comfortable as possible.

Breastfeeding and lactation support are concerns for many expectant parents. Nurses who are International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) help teach proper positioning and latching techniques after your child’s birth. Breastfeeding support groups and classes explaining the equipment involved might also be available.

Trust Parkridge East Hospital for your birth experience.

How to choose an OBGYN

Once you've settled on a hospital, you can then start your search for a practice or physician who delivers there.

Think about your practitioner's personality

Think about what you want from your prenatal care. Would you prefer someone who's all business, or do you want a more personal approach? Try to find a practice type that is a match for your preferences. You might want very individualized and comprehensive care, while other prefer a more relaxed relationship with their provider.

Consider the OBGYN's care model

Ask about the physician or practice group's care model as well. Who will be attending your prenatal appointments, and who will be there during birth? Will you have an opportunity to meet all the physicians before delivery? Will you become familiar with everyone who might be on call when you go into labor?

You can find this information through online and in-person research, which may include checking sites like, learning about cesarean rates and meeting providers for preconception or prenatal consultations.

Find an OBGYN that supports your unique pregnancy

As you're exploring your options, reflect on your health history. Do you have a preexisting condition that might raise your risk of complications? Would risk factors such as obesity or advanced maternal age apply?

Finding someone who can support your specific needs is critical, so ask providers whether they have experience with patients like you. This may require finding an obstetrician who is different from your regular gynecologist. The experiences of friends and family can also help, but remember that we all have different needs and desires when it comes to our medical care.

Be patient with the process

Finding the right OBGYN and hospital may involve some trial and error. You may not like the first options you see, and that's okay. It's better to know early on. That way, you can explore different options that may be a better fit. You should be comfortable with your healthcare and childbirth choices and find a provider you can trust.

Find a provider for a current or future pregnancy.