Making decisions

During pregnancy, you will be asked to make health care decisions.

In many cases there isn't a clear "good" or "bad" choice. The best decision is one that feels right for you and your circumstances.

When you face a tough decision, this guide can help you organize your thinking:

Gather information.

Ask your health care provider to explain the options. If you want more information, read books and articles about the topic. Check the Internet. Ask your health care provider for trusted sites, or see our resources page for recommended sites.

Talk with your health care provider about any information you find online.

Learn about how to manage pain before, during and after birth.

Watch a series of short videos about pain management. Videos are broken into topic by Cesarean and vaginal birth and include:

  • preparing for birth
  • anesthesia pain relief
  • surgery (Cesarean) or coping with labor (vaginal)
  • recovery in the hospital
  • recovery at home

You can also view the mother and baby care video library for additional topics.

Ask questions.

When talking with your health care provider, ask questions until you feel you have all the facts you need. Here are some questions you can ask:

  • What is the benefit of the proposed treatment to me?
  • What is the benefit of the proposed treatment to my baby?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • How quickly do we need to decide?

Discuss the options.

Talk with your partner, family or trusted friends. Ask other parents how they made their decision.

If you are being pressed for an immediate medical decision, ask if you can have time alone with your partner or family to talk.

Related resources

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Beginnings: Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, seventh edition, ob-ah-90026
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/02/2015