The childbearing year: Making informed decisions

Pregnancy today almost certainly means being confronted with a bewildering array of tests, procedures, medications, and restrictions. You may also hear an equally bewildering variety of opinions. How can a mother-to-be decide what to do -- or not do?

Fortunately, asking your doctor or midwife a few, simple questions can get you all the information you need so you and your caregiver can decide on the most appropriate care for you and your baby, taking into account your circumstances and values.

The answers to these questions are, in fact, your legal right. But legality aside, the dialogue these questions lead to serves both you and your caregivers. The woman who is most likely to be unhappy with her care is the woman who didn’t know all her options or their possible consequences. The discussion also gives you a means of evaluating whether you have chosen the right caregiver. If he or she reacts with anger, patronizes you, or tries to scare you, instead of inform you, you may decide it’s time to find another caregiver.

You can, of course, leave all or most decisions up to your doctor or midwife. That is certainly a valid choice. The important thing is that it is a deliberate choice and not one you felt forced to make.

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