Pregnancy is packed with planning and decision-making, and you're probably hoping that this will slow down once you give birth. Unfortunately, that's not typically the case. There are a few pretty important choices you'll have to make immediately after giving birth before you can truly rest (or attempt to rest) and enjoy your newborn.
No matter where you give birth or what your delivery process looks like, the questions from your medical team or midwife are all fairly universal across the board. They mostly deal with the heath of your baby, and some are more important than others.
Of course, like every aspect of pregnancy and raising a child (and everything else in life, for that matter), everyone has their own opinion on the "right and wrong" answers to these decisions you'll have to make. Wherever you fall on the decision spectrum, doing what you feel is best for you and your baby is most important, no matter how big or small the decision may be.
Knowing what you'll have to decide before going into labor will give you a peace of mind, as you can consider the answers beforehand. To help you prepare, her are some choices you'll have to make shortly after your baby enters the world.
1. Who Will Cut The Baby's Cord And When Will They Cut It?
Almost immediately after you give birth you'll be asked when you want to cut the cord and who you want to cut it. Although it's totally OK to allow the doctor to do it for you, sometimes it is seen as a sort of rite of passage for partners or birth coaches.
As for when you decide to clamp the cord, many believe there are prolonged benefits to delayed cord clamping that your baby won't receive if you cut the cord right away. According to an article from NPR, even a few extra minutes with their umbilical cord may give them small neurological boosts later in life. Additionally, delaying cord clamping allows for more blood to flow from the placenta to your baby's body, which can increase their blood count significantly and boost their iron levels.
That being said, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that cord clamping sooner is recommended for preterm babies or babies who do not breathe spontaneously after giving birth.
Of course, you can't plan for an emergency, but knowing whether or not you'd like to delay cord clamping longer than usual is helpful to know in advance.
2. Do You Want To Do Skin-To-Skin Time Right Away?
Although it wasn't customary until recent years, giving mother and baby an "uninterrupted first hour" together can help with bonding and establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship if you plan to nurse. According to MedScape, having skin-to-skin time with your baby as opposed to swaddling them right away, improves physiologic stability in the infant, improves mother-baby bond, and has a host of other benefits for both mom and baby.
There are some situations when skin-to-skin time isn't possible or isn't recommended, but knowing in advance that you plan to have the first hour alone with your baby will help you direct your medical team to best fit your wishes.
3. Do You Want To Breastfeed Or Not?
Most mothers will have made the decision to breastfeed or formula feed before they go into labor, but a final decision must be made once your baby is in your arms. If you're breastfeeding, you'll nurse your baby only a few minutes after they're born, according to Baby Center. And if you're formula feeding, your baby will need their first bottle soon after birth as well.
4. What Will You Do With The Placenta?
5. Do You Want To Circumcise Or Not?
Parents of girls are off the hook for this one, but if you have a boy then you'll need to decide whether or not you want to circumcise. According to Parenting, there are pros and cons to both, and typically the decision is made before giving birth.
6. Do You Want To Do The Newborn Screening Or Not?
The newborn screening is a simple prick of your baby's foot to gather blood to test for abnormalities or genetic disorders. According to Healthline, the newborn screening is particularly helpful if you have a family history of certain diseases, but many parents turn it down because knowing wouldn't be helpful or preventative.
7. Do You Want To Give Your Baby The Hep-B And Vitamin K Shot Right Away?
Another routine procedure is giving newborns the Hepatitis B and vitamin K shot soon after birth. Although both are standard shots for newborns, many parents opt to turn them down until their baby is a bit older.
The Hepatitis B shot is given to their infant within 12 to 24 hours after giving birth to prevent babies from contracting the disease, according to the Hepatitis B Foundation. This is done because most women don't know whether or not they're infected with Hep B, and the shot protects baby regardless.
According to an article from the Forbes, all babies are born with insufficient levels of vitamin K and if their levels don't rise normally, low levels of vitamin K can be very dangerous for a newborn and cause uncontrolled bleeding. Some parents, however, decline the shot for a variety of reasons.