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8 Medical Decisions to Make for Your Baby before Delivery or Someone else will make them for you.

Baby is here, the hard part is over. Time for a bit of rest and relaxation, right?

Not quite, there are several medical decisions that you’ll need to make for your baby after delivery. Have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries. Here is a quick guide to help you think through some of those decisions before baby arrives.

1.) Delayed cord clamping: Most umbilical cords are clamped within one minute after birth; however, some research has shown waiting 1-3 minutes before cord clamping or once the placenta has finished pulsating allows for approximately 30-40% of the newborns total blood volume. This extra blood can assist in preventing anemia. If this is not requested or indicated on the birth plan, it may not happen.

2.) Antibiotic eye ointment: This ointment is placed into the baby’s eyes within the first few minutes of life. This is provided to kill off bacteria that could potentially cause blindness. Most of the bacteria however that is of risk typically is connected to other health issues. Parents can choose to decline, and we suggest adding this to the birth plan if planning on doing so.

3.) Vitamin K injection: An injection of vitamin K will be placed into your baby’s thigh shortly after birth to prevent bleeding. Research has shown about 2% of infants without Vitamin K will develop hemorrhagic disease of the newborn or vitamin K deficient bleeding (VKDB). It’s very important to talk to your health care provider on the benefits of this injection.

4.) Bathing: After birth newborns are usually covered in a waxy substance called vernix that appears grayish-white in color. Vernix helped to protect baby’s skin while they were in utero. Vernix can be easily rubbed into the newborns skin or washed off. Most babies will get a bath a few hours after delivery and some parents like to do the first bath themselves. Make sure to list your preference on your birth plan, and inform your health providers and doula.

5.) Breastfeeding: Be knowledgeable about the resources you can access immediately after delivery such as an IBCLC or lactation consultant. Most hospitals supply new moms with a breast pump to use during there stay. Don’t forget to get a breast pump for home, this is covered by most insurance companies. Doulas and lactation counselors are a great resource to tap into once you and baby are home so that you don’t fall into common “booby-traps”.

6.) Circumcision: Don’t worry no one will circumcise your son without your permission, and a signed consent form but we encourage parents to research both the benefits and risks.

7.) Hepatitis vaccine: The Hepatitis vaccination offered is the first dose of a series that is recommended throughout childhood. Vaccinations are a highly controversial topic right now and its best to review evidence-based information on the risk and benefits of each injection before deciding what’s best for your family.

8.) Picking a pediatrician: And last but not least, you’ll be tasked with picking a pediatrician before leaving the hospital. We recommended locating a pediatrician sooner rather than later. Things to consider include if the accept your insurance, evening appointment availability, weekends, gender preference, etc.

Preparation is key. I'm not saying you need to study like you're getting ready for your SAT s, but preparing for your birth by scheduling a complimentary consultation with our doulas will leave you stress free, with curated support resulting in an elevated experience.

Authored by: Kiara Baskin


Bump to Birth Doula Services is supporting families in the greater Grand Rapids area in every aspect of preparing for pregnancy, birth, and beyond. We provide comprehensive support and education needed for expanding families. 

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