Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Guide For Parents-To-Be: Part 1 (Important Decisions to Consider)


Once you get pregnant there are a million things to think about. It can seem overwhelming, especially when you do your research and find all the conflicting views. This guide is here to help simplify and organize those decisions neutrally! I urge you to take the following options and research each side. Try to find neutral articles and studies (I know it's hard to do), so you can make the decision for yourself and not feel bullied into it! A large part of making the right decision for you and your baby is education. I cannot emphasize enough that research is your best friend!!

Remember, There is no right or wrong here. What YOU decide for your child is what is right for your family.

Below is some un-biased information on:
1. Vaccinations
2. Feeding Baby
3. Circumcision
4. Discipline
5. Routine Procedures

Here is a sample document to help you express your wishes. (Enjoy!!)

1. Vaccinations: These can be very controversial now-a-days. Some decide not to vaccinate at all, some vaccinate on schedule, some make their own schedule and some partially vaccinate! As stated above, there is no right or wrong decision here. I urge you to do your research on EACH and EVERY vaccine. Talk to your partner and make the decision that is right for your family. Here are some sources that may help!

  • Dr.Sears Vaccine Book, available at your local library! This book talks about the pros, cons and ingredients in each vaccine. He also recommends a schedule however I feel that each family should decide on their own schedule.
  • Here is the recommended vaccine schedule for children birth-6 years.
  • A break down of some ingredients in vaccines.
  • ASK QUESTIONS. If you are concerned about a vaccine or have any questions, please ask a doctor you trust!! Remember, most of the vaccines can be seperated (ie dTap, Pertussis alone is available for you to order but most Doctor's wont order it themselves.)
2. Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding: Another controversial issue. Breastfeeding is natural and is made for baby. The health benefits it has outweigh formula feeding. However some woman cannot nurse or simply don't have the desire to. Formula is not poison, although some would have you believe it is. Formula is a good alternative for those who cannot nurse. I urge you to do your research on both and make an educated decision. Some will nurse until baby self weans, some nurse for a year, some nurse for the first week!! (HINT: Research the virgin gut) What works for you may not work for others so you must make this decision as the parents. Here are some sources that may help in making your decision:
3. Circumcision: That's right, I said it. One of the most controversial subjects on the net today. When researching this one you will find a lot of "if you circumcise your baby you are MUTILATING HIM!" and even more "eww he needs to look like his daddy." I'm stating on record right now. Your baby, your decision. Just please make an educated decision. Here are some good articles on circumcision:
4. Discipline: This one can be tough. Parents don't always agree on how they want to raise their baby which can lead to a rift in their relationship and confusion for the child. It's best to talk about this before having the baby so you can get on the same page, if you aren't there already. Discuss whether you agree on the cry it out method, sleep training, spanking, time outs, positive reinforcement, etc. I'm not going to add any links to this one, I don't want to appear biased on any of these subjects. There is so much information floating around that educating yourself and following your intuition is the best thing you and your partner can do. 
5. Common procedures at birth: These procedures are usually over looked by parents because they are so routine! Education is key. YOU HAVE CHOICES. You can refuse or delay each of the following even if they are routine in your medical facility. Consider each aspect and make an educated decision with each:
  • Suctioning
  • Cord Clamping
  • Vitamin K Injection
  • PKU Test
  • Antibiotic Eye Ointment
  • Hep B Vaccine
  • Bathing baby
  • Circumcision
A couple of these have been covered above but I am going to break down each bullet point.

*Suctioning- As soon as baby's head emerges most care providers will reach for the bulb syringe and suction the nose and mouth to reduce the chance of aspiration on mucous or meconium. This isn't always necessary though. I urge you to research pros and cons of suctioning vs not suctioning.

*Cord Clamping- When baby is born he/she is still connected to the placenta through his/her umbilical cord. The common practice is to automatically clamp and cut the cord. There are many medical advantages to delaying the cord clamping though. I urge you to research pros and cons of delaying the cord clamping.

*Vitamin K Injection- Each baby that is born in a hospital will receive an injection of a large dose of Vitamin K. When babies are born they do not have the ability to clot in the case of bleeding. Vitamin K is administered to prevent any significant bleeding. It is recommended to give the injection if you plan to circumcise or get the PKU test. Some disagree with this practice however. They feel it is an unnecessary shot of a very large dose of Vitamin K. It is also advantagous to look into alternatives such as the oral dose. Once again, I urge you to do your research. 

*PKU Test- There are many metabolic disorders that are tested for after birth. Each is tested for by a blood test via heel prick. This is one of the least controversial procedures as the benefits clearly outweigh the risks. You have choices however, so you may decide to delay or refuse after some research!!

*Eye Antibiotic Ointment- (Or silver nitrate drops) Each state has their own law concerning this ointment. Many of them require the administration of the antibiotic however, your baby, your choice. You have choices no matter what your OB/midwife tells you. The antibiotic is administered routinely to prevent an infection in the eyes that is caused by a bacteria that cause gonorrhea and chlamydia. Even if the mother tests negative for the STD's in her pregnancy this ointment is given routinely. If the baby does get an infection of the eyes it can cause blindness. The flip side, it is very rare to contract the infection, you can watch for symptoms of an infection and if they turn up give the ointment. This cream may cause burning, swelling and blurred vision in the first few days of life.  I encourage you to do your own research and make an educated decision.

*Bathing Baby- Bathing Baby is usually never considered an option by families. They think the baby is covered in goo, it's gross and it needs to be cleaned off. If that's how you feel, good for you! Go bathe that baby haha! Recent studies show that the white goo (called Vernix) is actually a very good moisturizer  that protects baby from infection if massaged into the skin. Bathing baby right away can also cause a sudden drop in temperature which may force baby to stay in the warmer and out of mommy's hand a little longer. Another thing to consider here would be skin on skin contact. You may want to delay the bath for an hour or so, so mama can get some bonding time with baby and have immediate skin on skin contact. This helps jump start milk production and a good latch right away (if breastfeeding). Once again, I urge you to do some research and make an educated decision. 

*(Hep B Vaccine and Circumcision covered above)

These are some hard decisions to make. I emphasize researching and making an educated, personal decision.Don't feel guilty when other don't agree. These are all very controversial subjects and some people feel VERY strongly about each of them.

Did I miss anything? 
What were you concerned about while pregnant? 
Would you like me to discuss something more thoroughly? 
Let me know!

Covered in part 2: Interventions
Covered in part 3: Pain Management and Pain Medication in Labor
To be covered in part 4 : Making Decisions on Raising Baby
                             (Babywearing, Day Care, Montessori Method, Co-Sleeping, Introducing Solids)
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