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National Childbirth Survey

It may be the most natural thing in the world, but as every mom learns, giving birth is only partly instinctive. The rest is a matter of going with the flow -- adapting to the unique circumstances of your own pregnancy and labor -- and making the most informed choices you can. But are women as aware of the options they have along the path to parenthood as they could -- or should -- be?

A landmark survey conducted by Harris Interactive for the Maternity Center Association with support from Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, uncovered some surprising answers. Polling nearly 1,600 first-time and veteran mothers across the country, the wide-ranging questionnaire touched on everything from caregiver choices to pain relief options. And while the numbers show that women are more involved than ever in mapping out their own birth plans, the poll also uncovered some basic gaps in our knowledge about labor and delivery. Of course, we can only fill in the blanks if we know what we're missing. For that, read on.

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