What are Your Birthing Options?

“Welcome to the World!” Suddenly you find a baby placed on your bare chest. They are beautiful, perfect, sweet, and all yours. It is so easy to get lost in this moment, you’ve worked so hard to get here. But, you’re not done yet. After delivering baby you have so many options. Here are a few of the typical procedures for newborns immediately after birth.

Many mothers choose to have their baby immediately placed on their skin. There is this amazing 2 hour window where a ‘sensitive period’ occurs. Your baby is just as eager to meet you, as you are to meet them. Some mothers do prefer to have baby washed right away, and that’s ok too.

That clumpy cheesy stuff on your baby is called vernix. Some parents choose to delay baby’s first bath, or skip it all together, allowing that vernix to do its very special job. Vernix has been found to be beneficial for their immunity and hydrating that fresh baby skin.

Cord Clamping
Some parents choose to have their cord clamping immediately, while others prefer to delay the clamping. After baby is born the cord will pulse and deliver blood to the baby. Some parents choose to delay clamping the cord until it stops pulsing. Some parents choose to have a ‘lotus birth’ where the cord is never cut, and the placenta is wrapped and carried with baby until it comes off on its own. An additional choice is to use a cord tie, as opposed to the plastic clip.

Cord Blood Banking
Cord blood has been found to have some fabulous properties for your baby, and their family members. Cord blood can be banked, stored, and used in the future to prevent or treat illnesses. Banking your cord blood will limit how much blood is delivered to the baby after birth.

Eye Ointment
Eye ointment is given to babies after birth as a preventative measure for STIs. If there is no concern of infection for baby, some parents choose to skip this entirely.

Vitamin K Injection
This can be given orally, or not at all! Lots of babies are born with a low vitamin-K score, it typically balances out after birth.

After baby is born doctors will want to measure and weigh them. This will allow them to have a baseline for your baby’s growth. This can be delayed, although most hospitals will want to weigh your baby before 1 hour after birth.

PKU Screening
This test is done with a heel prick to test baby’s blood. They are testing for phenylketonuria or PKU, it’s an enzyme that your baby needs to grow. You can do this test at anytime, even years after birth.

Hep-B Vaccine
This vaccine protects your baby from getting Hep-B, a sexually transmitted disease. This vaccine (along with any) may be refused at birth. However, in the state of California your child will need to be vaccinated before starting public school, or they will need a medical exemption.

These options are often discussed prenatal, and forgotten once that beautiful baby is born. Having a birth plan to bring to your birth is a great way to remind you of the choices you wanted to make.

As with all medical decisions, it is best to ask your care provider for their opinion and concerns. Your doctor or midwife knows your history, spent a long time in school, and have made it their life’s work to serve, making them an asset on your birth team!

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