Pregnancy is such an exciting, and busy time. While it’s always fun to consider baby names and nursery colors, there are some important decisions to make before your baby arrives that will have an impact in the minutes/hours/days that follow his or her birth. That’s why we’ve put together a list of five important topics to consider. Devote some time, thought, and conversation to these now so when you make a decision, it’s an informed decision—which is the best thing a mama can do for her family.
1. First up, cord blood banking. After your baby arrives, the umbilical cord is clamped and cut. Instead of allowing the blood that remains in the cord to be discarded, many families choose to collect it and have it stored for their family. Why? Cord blood contains powerful stem cells that can be used in the treatment of nearly 80 diseases today2, and researchers are studying new ways to use cord blood stem cells to help treat conditions – like autism and cerebral palsy 104,111.
2. Choosing a pediatrician can be a time-consuming process, and it’s a relief to welcome your baby into the world knowing that you have someone you trust on-call. Shop around. Ask like-minded friends for recommendations, and take the time to call or visit your top contenders’ offices for an interview of sorts. Some peds’ offices even offer information sessions for new parents-to-be. Ask about their accessibility, hospital affiliation(s), and views on topics like vaccinations, breastfeeding, developmental milestones.
3. On the topic of doctor visits, give your insurance provider a ring to let them know your delivery date, and that there’s a new dependent on the way. You’ll have to firm up details once the baby makes his or her debut, but this will save you some time on that end.
4. There’s been extensive research done on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact with infants (starting immediately after birth). While you don’t need to do much to prepare for this, make sure that your delivery team supports you if it’s a priority for you. And get dad involved, too!
5. And lastly, if you’re expecting a baby boy (or, a surprise), have the conversation about circumcision with your partner and OB. The AAP’s stance on the topic is: “We recommend that the decision to circumcise is one best made by parents in consultation with their pediatrician, taking into account what is in the best interests of the child, including medical, religious, cultural, and ethnic traditions,” while acknowledging that the benefits of the procedure outweigh the risks.