The last trimester of pregnancy is an exciting time full of preparation for the big day when the baby is born. There are many decisions that expectant parents must make before labor and delivery. From picking out a name to choosing who can be present in the delivery room, it’s enough to make your head spin.
Have no fear. We’ve compiled a collection of crucial chooses that need to be made so you know exactly what you need to research and consider in a short timeframe. Please enjoy this list of 10 important decisions to make before the baby arrives.
10 Choosing A Pediatrician
One important decision new parents have to make is to pick out a pediatrician for their baby. The best time to start the process is between 28 and 34 weeks. This gives you plenty of time to do the research needed to settle on the right doctor.
There are several ways to find the perfect pediatrician. A good place to start is to ask trusted friends and family who they take their children to. You also want to be sure to schedule a meeting so you can get a feel for what the doctor’s bedside manner is. Be sure to follow up and check their credentials as well.
9 Childbirth Education Classes
When you hit the six or seven-month mark in your pregnancy, it would be smart to sign up for a childbirth class. There are so many benefits to receiving childbirth education. From learning relaxation techniques to discovering effective labor positions, you’ll feel totally prepared for delivery.
There are several different techniques to choose from including Lamaze, Bradley Method, Alexander, and Hypnobirthing. With a little bit of research, you can decide which method works best for you. Not only that, but you and your partner will bond during the classes and feel prepared to take on childbirth together.
8 Who Will Be Present In The Delivery Room
The delivery room is a sacred place where you’ll labor and give birth to your newborn. It’s so important that you make your wishes known when it comes to who you want present in the delivery room. Well-meaning family members may try to work their way in there but you have every right to set limits.
Make the decision early on and tell everyone beforehand so you don’t find yourself in a room full of people staring at your lady bits. It’s better to have your wishes known than be caught in an awkward moment in your most vulnerable state.
7 To Snip Or Not To Snip
A crucial decision that moms and dads of boys should make before the baby arrives is rather or not they will circumcise their son. This is a hot-button topic that causes a lot of debate but one that you and your partner will need to discuss.
Circumcision is a medical procedure that removes the foreskin from an infant boy’s penis. Be sure to research the benefits and risks of performing the procedure on your newborn. Talk to your pediatrician and make an educated decision. There is no right or wrong answer but this isn’t a topic you want to save until the last minute.
6 Pain Management During Labor
There are so many things to think about when preparing to give birth and pain management is one of them. Let’s be honest, delivering a baby is not for the faint of heart and chances are that you will experience some level of discomfort during labor and delivery.
That’s why it’s so important that you educated yourself on the various types of pain management available. Talk to your doctor about your options. From an unmedicated birth to getting an epidural, you are in charge of your own pain levels and management. Make your wishes known so there isn’t any room for confusion.
5 Breast Or Bottle
It’s best that you weigh all of your options when it comes to feeding your newborn. Expectant parents need to decide if they will breast or bottle-feed their baby. The American Association of Pediatrics encourages moms to breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of their life as it is the healthiest choice for babies.
Of course, not every woman is able to breastfeed. Your baby’s nutrition is a personal choice and should be a well-informed decision. Talk with your doctor or pediatrician to help you decide if your baby will feed at the breast or a bottle.
Another topic to add to your list of decisions to be made before the baby arrives is if you want to have skin-to-skin contact with your newborn. This means that the baby is placed belly down on your bare chest immediately after the delivery.
Professionals call the first hour after birth “The Golden Hour” because so many important moments unfold within that time. Even moms who have a cesarean section can request to have skin-to-skin contact in many hospitals. Be sure to ask your doctor if this could be an option for you and your baby.
3 Delayed Cord Clamping
More and more expectant moms are deciding rather or not they want to perform delayed cord clamping on their baby. This means that the cutting of the umbilical cord is delayed for a time after birth. You would be smart to research the benefits of waiting until the cord stops pumping to cut it.
So, how long should you wait? The World Health Organization suggests that the cord be cut between one to three minutes after delivery. This is a personal decision for each family so talk to your doctor if you have questions. Either way, you should make your wishes known to the hospital staff.
2 Newborn Vaccinations
Many parents are unaware of the various vaccines that their baby will undergo in the hospital immediately after birth. Some of them are optional and you would be wise to educate yourself and make a decision about what you do or do not want to be performed on your child.
Almost all hospitals place erythromycin eye ointment into a newborn’s eyes to kill potential germs. They also typically give a Vitamin K shot in the thigh to prevent a Vitamin K deficiency. Be sure to talk to your pediatrician about each vaccine and find out the pros and cons before you arrive at the hospital.
1 Birth Plan
A birth plan is a culmination of everything that is written on this list and more. An expectant mom should write down all of her preferences for the birth experience in a single-page document so that the hospital staff knows how to proceed during labor and delivery.
Be sure to include all pertinent health information as well as your personal wishes. From pain management to the degree of lighting in the room, you can be the author of your own experience. Talk with your healthcare provider about your birth plan to make sure that you are both on the same page.