The birth of your baby should be the most memorable, joyous, and life-changing experience. During that time you will not be wanting to spend time thinking about details or your hopes during delivery. That is why it is important to have a birth plan written out before the big day.
Knowing where to start or even how to write one can be overwhelming. A good way to start is to grab a journal or paper and write down as many thoughts and ideas that you can. That way everything is on paper instead of swarming in your head.
When I started writing my birth plan it was 2-3 pages long and it took a few weeks to decide what was the most important to me and I did eventually get it on one page!
Think of your birth plan as your decision maker and if you have your spouse or a family member that is going to be in the room make sure they know or even have a copy of the birth plan as well so they can be the enforcer.
When I was delivering our sweet baby there were many times the nurses talked with my husband so they did not interrupt me. It was nice to have him know our birth plan and that we had it in my hospital bag.
When you are writing your birth plan make sure to keep a note that you might not be able to follow it to a T because things can change during delivery. However, there were some things that were an absolute must such as my husband is in the room the whole time, no epidural unless requested and such.
Things such as c-section or to have any form of intervention I was a little more flexible on because if there was an emergency I would allow a c-section or some form of intervention. I also included that before we had to do something that was not our original plan that I wanted to discuss it with my husband first before we did anything.
Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan and you might have to change to ensure the safety of your baby and yourself.
With all that in mind, this guide can be of help when writing your birth plan:
1. Do Your Research
Find out ALL the policies, procedures, and routines about the place you will be delivering. This is a time you could even take a hospital tour of the labor and delivery area so that you know what to expect and get questions answered. If you do not agree with a policy or procedure talk with your healthcare provider about it.
As you learn more you will be able to include details in your plan. Make sure to include birth/post delivery and in case of an emergency in your birth plan. It is always better to be over prepared than unprepared.
I have listed some questions below question and they can be overwhelming but now is the time to consider them one by one.
- Who do you want to be present?
- Do you want a doula?
- Will there be children/siblings present?
- Do you want to delay cord clamping?
- Do you want immediate skin to skin contact?
- Do you wish to breastfeed immediately after delivery?
- Do you want to stay in bed, or have mobility?
- What positions or activities do you wish to use? (walking, shower, birthing ball, standing etc.)
- Do you have a preferred birth position?
- What will you do for pain relief? (hot and cold packs, massage, breathing exercises, tub, medication)
- How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
- Do you want to wear your own clothes?
- Do you want a routine IV, a heparin/saline block, or neither?
- Do you want to take pain medications, or not?
- How do you plan to stay hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
- If you need a cesarean, do you have any special requests?
2. Talk With Your Midwife, Doula or OBGYN
Your health care provider has been trained. And they want to best delivery for you and your baby. They may or may not be receptive to some of your ideas. That is why it is important to be a little flexible. Your list might be perfect for you but it is a little demanding or may have certain risks.
My midwife told me that they will follow my birth plan as long as everything is going good and baby is safe. But that I need to not be so set in stone with my birth plan that I could risk my safety and my babies safety. Your health care provider might tell you to make some changes because they may be unreasonable or something they just can not do because of certain policies.
Don’t feel like they are making it so you can’t have your perfect delivery. When my Midwife had me rethink things and even change a few things I was actually a little offended because It was my delivery. But she explained why I needed to make those changes and it made total SENSE!
Even during my delivery, I wanted to deliver in the tub but my baby was just not coming out and it had been hours and I mean hours. So the nurses were concerned that my babies shoulders may be stuck so they had me get out and we found that her cord was around her neck which was preventing her from coming out.
Now even though I did not want to deliver on the bed I needed to and I was okay with that!
So don’t get attached to your birth plan because you never know what might happen. Just remember no matter how you deliver it is beautiful and such an amazing event!
3. Control And Confident
With my birth plan, I felt in control and confident because I knew that if an emergency happened I had already prepared for it on my birth plan so then I knew what to expect.
Birth plans help you feel in control when unexpected events occur.
If an unexpected event occurs don’t feel like you can not ask for more information and to talk to your spouse or whoever is in the room with you before making a decision.
4. The Power Of Positive Thinking
When writing your birth plan don’t just list what you don’t want to happen also list what you do or that you hope to do. This way your birth plan is positive and list things that you would like to happen. You want your birth to be an amazing experience even if there is an unexpected event.
Birth plans are so amazing and provide so much support and guidance to those who are helping with your during delivery. I suggest taking a few days or even week when writing your birth plan. That way you can make any adjustments that your health care provider talks to you about and so that you know exactly what you have on your birth plan.
There are so many examples online that you can follow. Your birth plan is your voice during delivery so it is something that should not be rushed. Take time so that you will go to into your delivery with confidence!
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