I'm not gonna talk about what's right or wrong, because I honestly feel like that's different for everyone. Instead, I'm going to make a list on what *I* think a mother should be educated about and/or prepared for prior to labor onset. Once educated on the various choices, informed consent comes in to play, and it is completely the mother's choice of which risks she wants to choose. So here are the MAIN birth choices, that mothers should look into.
I tried to find useful and neutral links, but please forgive me if I misjudged somewhere. And sometimes I linked to Wikipedia, which is not THE most valid source of information sometimes, but it's still a good place to start. These links should not be the end-all to your research. You've got at least 30 weeks in most cases to learn about all this stuff, and I've only provided you with a good place to start, rather than everything you need to know.
How to Identify a bad source of information:
- You want to try to stick with source websites that are .org, .gov, or .edu. These domains have rules about what they can and cannot post, and in theory the information should be accurate. .net and .com have no rules, and they can post whatever they want. Try to avoid those.
- If the site is telling you to use a natural form of labor induction such as castor oil, spicy food, or pineapple, just walk away. While they may have some valid information on their site, feeding you wive's tales and false information makes them more than a bit sketchy.
- Wikipedia is not always accurate, so make sure you double check it.
- Avoid biased sources of information (this will be a majority of websites when it comes to birth choices). If they aren't talking about specific studies and citing sources, but promising catastrophic results for choosing ____, you should run away. Fast.
(WARNING: While these links are in no way pornographic, several of them do picture women in labor or immediately after birth, and therefore in various stages of undress, with various body parts exposed. Don't click the link if your boss would object to you seeing real boobs, or if you're grossed out by birth in general. Please and thanks!)
Reasons your doctor may suggest an induction, or you may choose to request one
- You're approaching, have reached, or passed 40 weeks
- 42 weeks have come and gone
- Fetal size (baby is too big to deliver / macrosomia)
- Gestational Diabetes
- Complications in previous pregnancies
- Group B Strep antibiotics
- Fluid pushing IVs
- Continuous fetal monitoring
- Narcotic pain management
- Pitocin augmentation
- Instrumental delivery (forceps or vacuum) (PDF format)
Reasons suggested for C-sections
- Fetal size (Baby too big to deliver)
- Previous C-section
- Failure to progress during labor
- Baby's position before labor (breech or transverse)
- Baby's presentation during labor (face, brow, shoulder, etc)
Immediate postnatal and beyond choices
There are more things a mother can research. If you try to read it all, it's possible your head my explode (but probably not). These are just some of the main issues that may come up, the more common complications, and the things you should know about BEFORE your doctor mentions them. Research your choices so that you may give legitimately informed consent. Know what you are risking, know what chances you are taking with your life and that of your baby, know what choices you have, and make your decision from there.
Other links a mother or mother-to-be might enjoy:
The Unnecessarian (Avoiding a Cesarean, and VBAC support)
ICAN (VBAC support)
Birthcenters (find a birth center)
La Leche League (breast feeding resources)
Attachment Parenting (A Parenting Philosophy)
Car Seat Safety (Make sure your child is safe in the car)
Car Seat Usage, with pictures (Using a car seat in a nutshell)
Choosing a Car Seat (car seats options by brand, features/stats, and price)
Water Safety (Keep kids safe in the water)
Baby Names (My blog post on how to name a baby, you may or may not like it)