Well, that sounds like a good idea. I wish more folks would ask about the environment of each hospital. Because different hospitals will have different strengths and weaknesses. I know the hospital I work at has great, awsome anesthesia for laboring women. But not as many resources as I would like for NCB. So much more productive to match up a couples expectations with a hospital that can provide it for them.
Pinky — I agree. Sometimes I read so many “horrible hospital” stories that I think every hospital is like that; and then I read some great hospital stories that make me say, “All right! These people *get* it!” The hospitals in my area are quite restrictive and not encouraging of NCB at all. Then I’ll read blog posts about birth plans, and how nurses roll their eyes at women requesting things like “no enema” or “no pubic shave” because they haven’t done those things routinely in years — and probably not within the timespan that the nurse has been working there — and these nurses may even say “nobody does this any more, but it’s still on these stupid birth plans!”… and then I’ll read another story of a woman who had to fight against the things that “nobody” does any more.
So we agree. It is basicly communication between providers and laboring women. I think I should put out a review of hospital birth centers. It could be like a review of vacation spots or restuarants. So then the lady who wants to never be separated from her baby, give birth in water and not be hounded by the monitor, would go to the appropriate hospital. And the lady who wants a kick ass epidural with induction of labor before she even hits 39 week can go to her appropriate hospital.
My childbirth educator friends and I liken it to trying to order sushi at an Italian restaurant, or trying to get steak at McDonald’s. You get the drift — don’t go where they don’t have what you want. (Easier said than done, though, in some areas of the country — what if *all* hospitals within 90 miles are restrictive?) However, this is what The Birth Survey is doing. Obviously, the people who are in charge of it are going to be more naturally-minded than average, but in my mind, it’s just a tool — and can be used both ways. While some women might be put off by one woman’s “early epidural” story, other women may be looking for just that intervention, so the intended negative would actually be turned into a positive.
As an L&D nurse, I hope you’ll tell your patients about The Birth Survey website, so they can write their reviews. I did mine for my younger son’s birth, and was pleased with how detailed it was. I had to laugh at some of the questions, though, since I had a home birth, because several questions were only applicable to hospital birth; but I was glad to see the questions there, because most women would be able to answer them, and most women need to know this stuff.
It can be so hard to find out this sort of information — and it’s something women really need to know! I got a bunch of the Birth Survey postcards, and if you’d hand them out to women, I’d be glad to send them to you.