Big decisions to make before giving birth

Even if you’ve been planning and trying for a baby for a while before Baby came along, there are certain decisions you may not have thought about ahead of time, and that positive pregnancy test puts a sudden (nine month) due date on them.

Boy, girl, tadpole?

When Baby reaches about 18 to 20 weeks old, your healthcare provider will probably be able to tell Baby’s sex from your ultrasound. Many parents choose to find out at this point, but plenty of others choose to keep themselves in suspense a little while longer, so they can find out the sex when they meet Baby for the first time.

Discussing whether you want to find out early or not before that appointment can save you from being put on the spot.

Location, location, location

What type of medical care you’d like when you’re giving birth makes a big difference in, and may decide, where you’ll give birth. If you want to be delivered by an OB/GYN, for example, you’ll probably deliver in a hospital. If you have a low risk for complications and you want to be delivered by a midwife, you’ll likely end up in a birthing center.

The epidural question

If you’re planning on a vaginal delivery, whether or not you plan to use an epidural for pain relief is the next big question, but this is also one of those decisions where it’s important to remember that you get to change your mind.

It’s a good thing to think about before you get around to the actual birth-giving, but you don’t know how you’re going to feel in that moment until you feel it, and birth, like with all natural processes, can be unpredictable.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re making your birth plan is that you may have to leave the plan behind.

Delivery room company? Or a delivery room crowd?

Deciding who you’ll have in the delivery room with you can start to feel a little political, but when it comes down to it, the important thing is to surround yourself with the person or people who can help you feel supported and secure, whoever that happens to be.

This is also another one of those decisions that are good to make ahead of time, but you get to change your mind about!

Whether it’s because a friend or partner doesn’t handle the stress of the delivery room well, and you need to ask them to leave, or you just decide at the last minute that what you really, truly want is your mom, this is a situation where no one gets to judge how you decide to take care of yourself (and Baby!) best.

The circumcision question

If you’ve been told you’re having a boy, or are waiting to hear Baby’s sex, or even if you’ve been told you’re having a girl (surprises do happen!), it’s a good idea to talk about whether you plan to have your child circumcised.

The American Association of Pediatrics doesn’t advise for or against circumcision, and while there are medical benefits, including a decreased risk of STIs, there is also the – usually slight and non-serious – chance of medical complications

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding provides numerous benefits for Baby in terms of health and his immune system, and it’s generally agreed that if it’s possible to breastfeed for any amount of time, it’s advisable.

On the other hand, there are plenty of reasons, from individual health issues to when you go back to work, why you might not breastfeed, or might only breastfeed for a certain amount of time, and plenty of perfectly healthy babies consume all or mostly formula until they’re weaned.

Maternity leave and after

If you plan on working after delivery, you’ll probably want to talk to your manager about your maternity leave options before you start to show, which will give your job some time to figure out what to do in your absence. I

f you’re planning to go back to work after your maternity leave ends, you’ll want to have childcare lined up. Some daycare centers don’t accept very young children, so finding the right place can take some time.

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