Childbirth in hospital: 10 rules for choosing the best facility

Who I am
Philippe Gloaguen
Author and references
Source: Shutterstock

It is useless to deny it: birth points in Del Paese are not all the same. To choose with serenity where to give birth, a woman must keep in mind some fundamental aspects, relating to the safety of the structure, in case something should go wrong, to the respect of her needs, in case the birth is absolutely physiological, and to the help that can be received in the very first days of life with the baby.

To take stock of these aspects is Maria Vicario, president of the National Federation of colleges of midwives, Fnco, who proposed to Ansa a handbook for safe childbirth. Underlining how much of the necessary information can be obtained from the Service Charter of the birth path of each facility.

In this article


  • Number of parts 
  • Pay attention to the levels 
  • Check for caesareans
  • Is there an epidural?
  • The partner in the delivery room
  • Freedom of choice
  • Get to know the structure, through the preparatory course
  • Cord blood donation
  • Check for rooming in
  • Learn about strategies for promoting breastfeeding 

1. Number of parts

Often the first criterion of choice is proximity to home, but it is not a good criterion. The first aspect to consider concerns the number of births per year. "Better to avoid facilities where fewer than 500 births occur per year"advises Vicario." They are more risky, because they are less able to face any emergencies ".

For this reason, already in 2022 a State-Regions agreement indicated the closure of birth centers with less than 500 births, with the exception of those present in particular environments such as small islands or mountain valleys. "In these cases, operators should follow specific refresher courses, periodically visiting more advanced centers, in order to be able to cope with the various situations that could arise", underlines Vicario.

2. Pay attention to the levels

If your pregnancy already has complications, such as diabetes, excessive weight gain, too high blood pressure, or if you are expecting twins, don't settle for just any birth point. You have to look for one of second or third level: only these centers, in fact, guarantee respectively the subintensive or intensive neonatal therapy.

3. Check for caesareans

We know that in Del Paese the percentage of caesarean sections varies greatly from region to region, and also from structure to structure. At times, these differences depend on the intrinsic characteristics of the structures: it cannot be expected that the small provincial hospital and the large third-level center, where women with complicated pregnancies arrive, do the same number of caesareans in proportion. However, there are situations in which this possibility is abused, and it would be better to avoid them.

"If the hospital where you plan to give birth has 40 or 50% of cesarean sections, it is at least advisable to try to understand why, perhaps by asking your gynecologist for information" advises Vicario.

For women who have already had a caesarean, the Fnco president recalls the possibility of a new vaginal birth, the VBAC. "In Del Paese we are at 5% of VBAC, compared to 20% of the European average. In fact, there are not many centers that offer it, but something is moving. Also thanks to the positive results of projects such as the European OptiBirth".

4. Is there an epidural?

For those who intend to have childbirth analgesia, it is absolutely necessary to check that the chosen birth point insures them 24 hours a day. Not in all structures this happens.

5. The partner in the delivery room

It is now an established habit, but it is always better to ask if it is actually possible to have the partner close during labor, delivery and in the first hours after birth.


Dad in the delivery room passed with flying colors. Mothers say so

go to the gallery

"If he hadn't been there, I would never have made it." It is one of the phrases that mothers say most often, remembering with how much participation and transport their own ...

6. Freedom of choice

"Being able to choose and change position during labor is an important strategy to try to contain pain," recalls Vicario. "For this, it is better to inquire about this possibility".


Positions of labor and delivery PHOTO

go to the gallery

What is the best position to deal with labor and delivery? The one that ... makes a woman feel better. And each should be left free to choose. From the medical portal ...

7. Get to know the structure, through the preparatory course

There are now many types of birth accompaniment courses. "Attending the one organized by the hospital where you intend to give birth is an excellent way to acquire new skills, get to know operators and clarify some of the most pressing doubts" advises Vicario.

8. Donation of cord blood

By law, the possibility of donate umbilical cord cells: better make sure that this is really the case. "It is a simple and safe sampling of cord blood, carried out starting 60 seconds after birth" underlines Vicario.

9. Check for rooming in

Being able to keep the newborn in the room with you is an added value, because it is now clear that this procedure facilitates and promotes the initiation of breastfeeding. For this reason, if possible, it is better to aim for a structure that really does it.

"But be careful: the ideal would be a elastic attitude on the part of health workers "underlines Vicario." Because rooming in is certainly a great opportunity, but if the labor and delivery were particularly long and painful and the mother is very tired, it is right that she has the possibility, maybe only for the first night, to entrust your child to the nursery to recover energy ".

10. Learn about strategies for promoting breastfeeding

The first attempts at breastfeeding do not always go smoothly. The initial difficulties are normal, and they are all the easier to overcome the more the woman is supported and accompanied in her first feedings. "For this reason it would be good to verify that the chosen structure adopts precise strategies to promote the initiation of breastfeeding" declares the president of Fnco.

In some cases, Unicef's "Child-friendly hospital" certification acts as a guarantee. In Del Paese, however, there are still few certified structures. Others, however, present in the Service Charter the application of important strategies to immediately promote breastfeeding. For example: the possibility of attaching the newborn already in the delivery room or the availability of expert staff to help the mother to correctly set the attachment of the baby in the first feedings, to avoid the risk of fissures.

See also the video: How to choose the hospital where to give birth

  • give birth
  • childbirth safety
  • epidural
  • Caesarean section
add a comment of Childbirth in hospital: 10 rules for choosing the best facility
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.