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6 Medical Decisions Pregnant Women Need to Make Before Birth

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You've already made decisions on your labor and delivery. You've made decisions on what colors to put in your baby's nursery and what outfit she'll wear the day you bring her home. But have you thought about the important medical decisions you'll have to make after your baby is born?

From breastfeeding to cord clamping and skin-to-skin contact, there are several decisions you will have to make immediately after you welcome your little one into the world. Educating yourself on these decisions will help make the labor and delivery process smoother.

1. Skin-to-Skin Contact after Birth

Every mom-to-be should have a clear birth plan in place before she goes into labor, and that plan should clearly state whether you want to skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth.

Yes, you can still have skin-to-skin contact, even if you have a C-section.

Skin-to-skin contact means that your unwrapped baby will be placed on your bare chest between your breasts.

Many hospitals allow healthy newborns to spend their first few minutes of life skin-to-skin with mom. In many cases, the baby can be evaluated while she's laying on mom's chest.

2. Cord Blood Banking

Did you know that your baby's umbilical cord contains valuable stem cells? Those cryogenically saved cells can be used for stem cell treatments in the future as an insurance policy to help treat a myriad of diseases and illnesses.

You can choose to donate your baby's umbilical cord blood and tissues, which you can send to a public registry or private bank. Once your baby's cord is cut, the blood and tissue will be drawn into a collection bag.

If you choose not to donate your baby's cord blood, it will be thrown into the trash. Doctors say the collection process causes absolutely no harm to the baby or to mom.

If you wish to donate your baby's umbilical cord blood, make sure that this is clearly stated in your birth plan.

3. Breastfeeding

Do you want to breastfeed your baby? Breastfeeding helps protect your baby from illness, but it's not a practice that every mom can handle. Many moms quit breastfeeding before they even leave the hospital.

If you do choose to breastfeed, know ahead of time that you will be woken up every 2-3 hours by a nurse to feed your baby.

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