The 5 Hard Decisions of Pregnancy

Family planning is a joyous time for many, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with its hard decisions as well. Determining parenting strategies, figuring out the best food sources, and even the types of diapers you will swaddle your new child in become hot topics with an overwhelming plethora of options attached to each. And that’s okay.

Options allow us the opportunity to create the life we desire for our child, and parents should feel empowered by them. However, if you find yourself in a position where the basics, such as nursery color and bottle type, have been decided, but decisions regarding bigger issues are being avoided, consider using the following topics to get your conversations jumpstarted:

hard decisions of pregnancyBreastfeeding

Most mothers consider breastfeeding to be the healthiest choice for their newborn; however, breastfeeding isn’t always a possibility. For some mothers, breastfeeding is incredibly painful or their newborn simply can’t get a good latch. Other mothers choose to breastfeed because they feel they have found a nutritious formula, and formula feeding better suits their lifestyle.

However, the debate about how to nourish your child doesn’t end with whether or not to breastfeed. If you do choose to breastfeed, you may want to also have a conversation with your partner about where you both feel comfortable breastfeeding. In recent years, breastfeeding in public has received a lot of attention, and while many mothers are comfortable breastfeeding in public, it’s not for everyone.

Before you give birth, consider your comfort level with feeding. Consider where you might be comfortable feeding your newborn, and also consider how you will want to feed him or her. Knowing will allow you the time to get all the supplies necessary, such as breastfeeding blankets, nursing bras, formula, and pumps, to make sure that you can feed your little one comfortably.

Natural vs. Allopathic

Pregnancy isn’t always comfortable and for many women who are entering their 32nd week or more of pregnancy, their main focus becomes giving birth. For many women who don’t want to be troubled with the aches and pains of a late pregnancy, they schedule their births for the exact due date that was given to them by their OB/ GYN. Scheduling a birth allows for a predictable birth that usually requires inducing the mother or a Caesarian section.

For some mothers, scheduling a birth seems unnatural and makes them feel as though they are being robbed of their power as a woman. If you want to let your baby arrive on his or her own time, consider having a natural birth. Natural births are typically free of epidurals or inducement, and can happen in a hospital, birth center, or home. Just be prepared for the wait! You may have to wait a week or two longer after the due date to meet your little one if you birth au natural.

To Test or Not to Test

Medical advancements have provided us with exceptional healthcare. Doctors are able to identify diseases prior to their complete development, illnesses can be cured with a simple shot, and we can determine the sex of our children before they are even a few weeks old in utero. For pregnant women, medical advancements also allow them the opportunity to test their children

For women ages 35 years and older, or for those who have a history of genetic abnormalities, prenatal DNA testing is often recommended. Advanced age pregnancies are considered higher risk pregnancies, and a woman’s chance of having a baby with genetic abnormalities greatly increase the higher their age. A prenatal DNA test will determine if trisomy 21, trisomy 18, or trisomy 13 are present which indicate genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.

Although prenatal DNA tests are available, not all mothers and their partners wish to know the health of their baby prior to birth. Testing is a personal decision, and you and your partner should thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of prenatal DNA testing. Just keep in mind, that regardless of the results, a DNA test can help you better plan for your growing family.

Circumcision

Circumcision has become popular over the last several decades; however, in recent times, parents and doctors alike are questioning whether or not circumcision is even necessary. Many parents choose to have their children circumcised because of religious believes or social stigma; however, it is good to keep in mind that there are risks involved.

While a circumcised penis may be easier for a younger child to keep clean, the procedure can result in injury if not done correctly. The side effects of a poorly done circumcision include unsightly scarring and even functional impairment which may affect your child’s self-esteem and relational health in the future. Although improper circumcisions are not frequent in the U.S., it is still wise to consider the implications of the procedure and determine whether or not you wish to

Home Birth or Hospital Birth

Giving birth in a hospital can provide numerous comforts and amenities. Hospital births may help women give birth by offering epidurals or inducement, and can offer immediate assistance should anything go wrong during your birth. In spite of these benefits, giving birth in a hospital also has a few cons. Due to the rigid structure of a hospital, you may be induced or receive a Caesarian section for even the slightest irregularity.

Although hospital births are currently more popular, natural births at home or in birthing centers are on the rise. For women who are not interested in doctors intervening in their birth experience, a home birth with the assistance of a midwife may be the best option. Home births are usually safe for healthy women, and can provide an empowering experience for mothers. If you are interested in having a home birth, consider looking for a midwife or doula in your area.

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