Yay! I'm pregnant! Now what?
The journey of pregnancy and the experience of birth are two of the most important times in a woman's life. From the very moment that we find out we're expecting, questions and decisions to be made start flying towards us.
Although our littles aren't yet in our arms, we are already parents and have to start making choices for ourselves and our babies. Every woman will choose differently based on her biases and personal research, but regardless, I strongly encourage new mommas to make informed decisions - that is, decisions based on the latest and best research, made after we know all of the risks and benefits.
"If you don't know your options, you don't have any." - Diana Korte
Many women rely solely on the knowledge of their care provider and simply follow recommendations. They're the experts after all, right? Well, I would argue that WE are the experts when it comes to OUR bodies and OUR babies. WE are the ones that have to live with the outcomes of OUR choices.
Finding out what we can about the processes of pregnancy and birth can empower us to make the best choices for ourselves. But where do we start? What do we even need to learn about specifically? There is just too much information! Right?
Ok. First, let's take a deep breath. We don't have to go back to college and get a PhD in midwifery. Here is a quick video to help you learn about how to find evidence based information by topic:
Here ---> Evidence Based Birth <--- is another one of my favorite resources for finding evidence based pregnancy and birth related information. AND, my dear, lovely friends, I've compiled a list of topics to get you started (below). When you're done taking a peek, go hire a trained birth professional (aka doula) to help support you in YOUR choices.
Warm wishes for a happy day!
- Nutrition and prenatal supplementing
- Routine screening and testing
- Choosing a provider and birth location
- Birth philosophy (what's yours? what is your providers?)
- Estimated due dates
- Expectant management vs active management
- Basic physiology of labor and birth: natural hormones of labor, stages of labor
- Intermittent auscultation vs continuous or intermittent electronic fetal monitoring
- IV vs heparin lock vs needle free
- Induction: medically necessary reasons for and methods used
- Comfort and coping measures vs narcotic pain management
- Timing and augmenting labor: risks of vaginal exams, artificially breaking water, pitocin
- Choice of pushing and birthing position: what are good/not good positions
- Episiotomy vs naturally tearing
- Birthing assistance: risks of forcep and vacuum extraction
- Immediate clamping and cutting the cord vs delayed/optimal cord clamping
- Birthing the placenta: normal physiology of and medical methods used
- Skin to skin (“kangaroo care”)
- Family centered cesarean
- VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)
- Prophylactic eye treatment
- Vitamin K injection
- Hepatitis B vaccination
- Nursery care: separation of mom and baby, pacifier and bottle use with a newborn, first bath
- Early breastfeeding: colostrum, newborn stomach size
- Placenta encapsulation