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10 Major Decisions to Make During Pregnancy


Decisions, decisions, decisions - they never end! And now that you're getting ready to welcome a little bundle of joy into your home, you've got 18 years of decisions to look forward to! From choosing a midwife, to developing your maternity leave plans, here's a rundown of 10 major decisions you'll need to make before the baby arrives:

1. Should I learn the sex or keep it a surprise?

You and your partner should discuss whether or not you want to know the sex of your baby. Will you two request for a gender reveal during an ultrasound, or would you rather stick to the old-fashion route and keep those guesses coming until your beautiful boy or girl is born?

Finding out the sex can help make other decisions easier like choosing a name, colors for the nursery and of course, picking out those tiny little onesies. However, it's always a good feeling to be pleasantly surprised, especially after you've been waiting for so long!

2. Should I give birth at home or in the hospital?

Close your eyes for a minute, and imagine you're giving birth. Where do you see yourself? Is it in a hospital, a special birthing center or in the comfort of your own home? Talk to your lady friends about their birthing experience and if they wish they had given birth somewhere else. Before making a final decision, it is important to explore all the options and familiarize yourself on both the pros and cons.

3. Should I have a natural birth or receive an epidural?

The question of whether or not to receive pain medications or to proceed with a natural birth is another big decision you need to make, so be sure to do all your research prior to the big day. Discuss with your doctor all the the benefits and risks of each procedure. While nothing is set in stone, it is still important to educate yourself on both. Again, talk to some of your mommy friends and see what advice they have to give. Either way, giving birth will be a magical moment.

4. Should I breastfeed or bottle feed?

While bottle feeding is still effective, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends breastfeeding, seeing as it's the healthiest way to feed your newborn. This topic is pretty touchy and controversial, but just know the choice is entirely up to you. Take some time to think about both feeding methods, do some research and tune anyone out who's trying to sway your opinion. For some, bottle feeding might be the only option, which is completely OK!

5. If I have a boy, should he be circumcised?

Circumcision is another controversial topic, so consider discussing this in private with your partner and doctor. According to the AAP, the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks; however, the procedure is not recommended for all newborn boys. That being said, the final decision should be left up to the parents to make in the context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs.

6. Should I take a childbirth education class?

Absolutely - bring your partner, too! There is so much to learn about the birthing process, especially if this is your first child. Surf the Web for different types of classes like Lamaze or Hypnobabies. These classes will cover everything on breathing for relaxation and will prepare you for what's to come. These classes are increasingly popular, so don't wait until the last minute to sign up! Get your name on that list as soon as you enter your second trimester.

7. Should I preserve my baby's umbilical cord blood?

If you've never heard of this before, it's the act of saving and storing the baby's umbilical cord blood. The reason some parents do this is because the blood is rich in stem cells that can be used later on in life to treat various illnesses and disorders. Discuss with your partner if this is something you both wish to do or not. You have two options: Private and public cord blood banking. Private is expensive, whereas public is typically covered by your insurance provider.

8. Should I let people into the room when I give birth?

If you choose to give birth in the hospital, be sure to speak to your doctor about how many people are allowed in the room. Depending on hospital policies, there may be a limit on how many people can be present. Giving birth is going to be overwhelming, so give it some thought before you start telling your friends and extended family members that it's OK to be in the room when the baby comes.

9. What's the plan for my maternity leave?

Be sure to discuss your maternity leave plan with your boss well before the baby arrives. Typically, women break the news at 12 weeks, or at least before your tummy starts to show. Notifying your boss early on in your pregnancy will be greatly appreciated, as it allows everyone to plan around the months of your absence and divvy up any projects that might be due to clients on specific dates.

10. Who will my baby's pediatrician be?

This is the most important decision of all, which is why we saved it for last. It is crucial that you and your partner have chosen a pediatrician before your baby is born. Your baby is going to need a plethora of vaccines, so it's important to choose a doctor right away so your little one isn't behind schedule. Do some research, ask your friends or consult your own primary care doctor to ask for recommendations.

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