These days, women have so many more options and decisions to make about their pregnancy.
If you’re a first time mom and just taking things one day at a time (like me), you’re probably a little overwhelmed by it all.
Who is your doctor? Where are you delivering? Will you get an epidural? Will you breast feed?
That’s why I took the time to research and make informed decisions about my pregnancy.
It’s best to be prepared and know what you’re getting into.
So, here are six pregnancy decisions to look into and make a decision about right now.
1. Genetic testing
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll have several options for genetic testing. I was really confused by all of the options.
The first thing I found out is that most of the tests are only screening tests.
This means they can only tell you the likelihood that your baby has a genetic condition.
(This is one reason I considered not doing them.)
These tests include:
- the first trimester screen (blood) and NT test (ultrasound),
- second trimester (or “quad”) screen, and
- the cell-free DNA test.
The first of these two are generally covered by insurance.
The last is generally only covered for women over 35 or those who have a family history of a genetic defect that can be picked up by the test.
If you get a positive on one of these screening tests, you can then undergo chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis to get a confirmatory (or not) diagnosis of your screening results.
For some, this is an easy decision.
Some people want to know so they can be prepared to take care of a baby with a genetic defect.
Others want the option to consider terminating their pregnancy.
Some women forgo genetic testing altogether, saying,
we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
Whatever you decide, try to consider the pros and cons of each decision.
I think the biggest con of either decision is having a lot of anxiety and worry.
We did some of the later testing but missed our opportunity to get testing done in the early part of the pregnancy due to clerical mistakes at the OB office.
This is of course a pretty easy decision for most.
You either want to know ASAP so you can get to shopping and naming, or you just want a surprise at the end.
Still, make that decision before your anatomy scan so you don’t get any oops! moments.
If you decide to find out and later decide to do a gender reveal, check out my reveal ideas for introverts!
3. Home or hospital
I personally chose to go with a hospital because I wanted the option to get an epidural.
Plus, I was terrified that something could go wrong and I felt safer knowing we’d be surrounded by nurses and doctors who knew how to resuscitate a baby.
There is also the choice of a birthing center.
In a birthing center, you’re cared for by a midwife.
You have the comfort of home coupled with someone who knows how to deliver a baby!
In my area, there are only three birthing centers nearby and they are all a little too far from me for me to even consider it.
Whatever you choose, make sure you know all the options!
4. Epidural or natural
The truth is, I didn’t know much about epidurals before this.
I knew that I wanted to be able to labor as much on my own as possible, but also knew that I didn’t want to be in pain.
On top of that, I wanted something in place so that I could get an emergency c-section if necessary.
So I thought maybe it was possible to just get an epidural but not use it.
…But after doing some research, I learned that this is really a dumb idea!
An epidural takes at least 20 minutes to kick in to make you truly numb enough to be cut open.
In an emergency, you don’t have that long.
Plus, you’d need a bolus of fluids before starting epidural meds because they can drop your blood pressure.
So getting an epidural to have just in case just doesn’t make sense.
As it turns out, there was no question about me getting an epidural.
My water broke and contractions started right away and they were awful!
5. Visitors during labor
Of course everyone wants a first look at your new baby!
But you may not want your aunts, uncles, cousins, etc to be there coming to see you while you’ve got your bits hanging out.
Some girls do actually want all their family around, and that’s totally fine, but I’m not one of them.
My husband was the only one allowed to be in the room with me, and only his parents were invited into the room once the baby was born.
6. Use of vacuum or forceps
Sometimes babies get stuck. It’s just a fact.
Sometimes the safest and quickest way to get them out is with assistive devices.
These devices can save you from having a c-section.
But these devices can come with some pretty big risks that I think moms should know about.
This is a topic that I’m pretty passionate about.
In my research on these devices, I found that the public information present on the web is lacking information about those risks.
First you have the risks to the mom.
- It hurts and it can cause more damage to your whoo ha than the baby is already gonna do.
- There’s an increased risk of blood loss, which sucks because you’re already gonna lose a ton with the baby.
Then you have the risks for the baby.
Those include basic things like facial injuries and bruising.
But they can also include scary things like:
- skull fractures
- brain damage
Sometimes babies do not recover from these injuries and they die or end up needing medical home care.
Don’t get me wrong –
this doesn’t happen all the time!
It’s few and far between.
It’s when physicians use these tools incorrectly, or when they continue using them even when they haven’t helped that these injuries happen.
I cared for a baby once who had brain damage and seizures from SEVEN failed attempts with vacuum and forceps.
Be sure you have this decision made to avoid any last minute, frenzied confusion.
Pregnancy is just the beginning of all the decisions you’ll have to make throughout motherhood.
Get ahead of the game and make these decisions now!
What are your opinions on these matters? Have any more pregnancy decisions to add? Drop me a line!