It used to be that birth plans were reserved for those wishing to work solely with midwives and doulas. Or for those women who planned on having births at home or in birthing centers.
Nowadays, birth plans are popping up everywhere. Women who are having hospital births often contrive their birth plan, discuss it with their doctor, and assume it will be followed almost exactly.
While this isn’t always the case, as many things can arise during the labor process, birth plans have come to be more respected in hospital settings as long as the mother isn’t considered high-risk.
Some things that one would normally find within a birth plan are:
Labor Preferences: These could include things like where to give birth, who delivers the baby, how much direction you’d like, and setting the environment you’ll be delivering in.
Some mothers will prefer a lot of people around them while others would like to have their partner and midwife and no one else.
Labor preferences can also encompass whether or not you’d like to be induced, have a C-section, deliver vaginally, what medications you’d like available to you, and being allowed to eat and drink during labor.
You can also add monitoring choices into the labor section of your birth plan. Dictating how often you’d like to be checked for dilation and how much freedom you’d like to have to move around during each contraction.
Pain Medication: Some of us mothers go into labor with the hopes of doing it all naturally, while others can’t wait until they can say yes to the epidural. These are areas that should be thought out in your birth plan.
Would you like to see how long you can go before an epidural is needed or would you prefer the maximum amount of pain medication that’s available to you?
Delivery Preferences: This area of your birth plan will hit on delivery options and positions such as giving birth in a tub, giving birth while squatting, and whom you’d like near during the delivery.
Also included under this topic could be choices such as episiotomies and delivery support and comforting.
After Giving Birth: Some of us never ask our prenatal care provider what happens to our baby after delivery. We assume he’s whisked off, cleaned up somehow, and then brought back to us.
While most of the time, yes – this is the case, it’s not always.
Write down your preferences for your newborn such as who cuts the cord, where you’d like your child to be placed (on you, with your partner, etc), and if you’ll be participating in any cord blood banking.
Postpartum: This quiet time can include your breastfeeding options and preferences, how many visitors (if any at all) you’d like to be allowed in at one time, and if you’d like your baby in the room with you.
Your postpartum section could also include your desires on circumcision, photos and videos, pacifiers for your baby, and the overall care of your newborn after delivery.
- It’s important to keep in mind that birth plans have the ability to change – and they often do. If you’re planning on giving birth within in a hospital setting, then most likely a few of your requests won’t be tended to.
If you plan on birthing at home with a midwife then you increase your chances of your birth plan being followed almost to a tee.
Give your birth plan some breathing room and make peace with the fact that some things may not go according to your wishes.
The most important thing for you to do once you’ve put your birth plan together is to bring it to your doctor or prenatal health care provider and go over it in depth. Voice your cares, concerns, and wishes but also take in and research what your doctor will respond with.
* A great interactive birth plan is available at ChildBirth.org. You can access the plan here.
About the author: Danielle is a freelance blogger and editor specializing in parenting, family, pregnancy, social media, and entrepreneurial topics. To learn more about Danielle, please visit her website at www.PenPointEditorial.com.