Years ago my Grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I remember my whole family discussing and educating themselves on the options available and whether to do radiation, chemotherapy or surgery. Any of these three treatments would probably have taken care of the problem, but in the end they decided that surgery would be the best course for him.

While certainly not an illness or disease, pregnancy and birth is not dissimilar to this situation. As your pregnancy progresses, you realize that you have a variety of ways to get baby “out”. You could have a vaginal birth or a cesarean birth. If vaginal, you could have a medicated or unmedicated birth. In most cases, any three of these options would achieve your end goal: getting baby out healthy and safe. The method is up to you.

Enter education and the importance of knowing the pros and cons of your options. When you find out that epidurals actually do not increase your risk of having a cesarean section, maybe you will decide that a medicated birth is for you. And if you learn all the little yet important developmental tasks that your baby accomplishes in the last weeks and days of pregnancy, maybe you will decide not to induce labor unless medically necessary.

So sign up for a childbirth class, get a few birth books, find some quality websites and delve into the world of options surrounding labor and birth. You may be surprised by how incredible your body is. Knowing all your options will help you feel strong, confident and in control of your birth process.