Having a baby can be a very exciting time in your life. But it can also be very stressful and confusing. There are a lot of things that you will want to learn about while you are preparing for baby to arrive. Things that go into baby’s care as well as your own during and after labor and delivery. The best way to keep all your opinions and requests in one place is to write a birth plan. It will help you to be prepared for whenever you go into labor!
What Is A Birth Plan?
So you may be wondering what I mean by a birth plan. It is a good question!
A birth plan is very simple. It is your wishes and requests for your experience while you are in labor and during delivery. As well as what you want to happen for you and baby after delivery.
The biggest thing that you need to keep in mind regarding your birth plan is that not everything always goes to plan. And you want to be prepared for that.
Most importantly, you want to be prepared to be okay with everything going wrong if it does happen. At the end of the day, you and baby coming out of the experience healthy is what really matters.
All that being said. A birth plan is exactly that, a plan. It will include what you are okay with and what you aren’t. So that the entire team will know your wishes when you are in labor. Depending on how you handle labor or what happens, you may not be in the best condition to answer questions or give opinions during delivery, so having it all laid out ahead of time can be helpful so that your team can follow your wishes to the best of their ability.
Visit the Resource Library to get your FREE printable birth plan template.
What Do You Include?
As I mentioned above, all your wishes and requests are going to be included in your birth plan. Start by knowing what your opinions on different scenarios are and you can decide what you want and what you don’t for you and baby.
Questions To Get You Started
Keep in mind some of this may not matter to you at all. And that you may have to do research to form an opinion on other topics. But being prepared will help in the moment.
- Who can be in the room during labor and delivery?
- Will any siblings be present? When?
- Do you want delayed cord clamping?
- Are you banking the cord blood?
- Do you want immediate skin to skin with baby?
- Are you planning on breastfeeding right after birth?
- Are you breastfeeding or formula feeding?
- After delivery, when do you want to get out of bed?
- What birthing positions do you wish to try? (walking, hands and knees, squatting, birthing ball, etc.)
- Is there any position you prefer to be in during delivery? (in bed, birthing tub, etc.)
- What is your pain management plan? (epidural, massage, hot/cold packs, etc.)
- How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
- How do you plan to stay hydrated? (IV fluids, ice chips, etc.)
- Would you agree to an episiotomy?
- Do you want your doctor to coach you through pushing while baby is being delivered or do you want to go with what your body tells you to do?
- Where do you want baby to sleep? (in room, in nursery)
- Do you want a routine IV, or a heparin/saline block?
- Do you want to be able to control the lights and sound in the room during labor and delivery?
- Are you planning on using a tub or shower during labor?
- When do you wish to be able to take a shower/bath after delivery?
- In what situation do you want a caesarean section? Do you have special requests if this occurs? (who’s in the room, different after birth requests, etc.)
- When are you okay with forceps or vacuum extraction being used during delivery?
Where Do You Find Information?
Starting to do the research for your birth plan can bring up a lot of topics that you may not know much about. And when you don’t know what it is, it’s hard to know if you want something! So finding information and answers is very important.
And even if you don’t write a full birth plan for your delivery day, knowing what to expect is incredibly important.
There are a lot of ways to find information and answers.
- Talk to your doctor. Ask questions. Partnering with your doctor is very important when writing your birth plan because they can answer any questions about hospital policies that may prohibit certain options during labor and delivery due to safety issues.
- Read books. Pregnancy and labor books are all over the place and are full of good information.
- Talk to other moms. They’ve been through it. Ask about their experiences. Just remember everyone is different!
There are countless places you can go to get information. Just remember to take opinions for what they are. Not fact. Make your own opinions with your significant other.
Printable Birth Plan Template
You don’t have to have it all written down and printed out if you don’t want to. Make sure your support person knows your opinions, as well as your doctor and everything, should go just fine.
Always remember that things may change, especially if you or baby are in danger. In a medical emergency trust your doctors to do what needs to be done to keep you and baby safe.
Grab yours FREE from the Resource Library
Why I Am Using A Birth Plan
With my first son, I did not write a birth plan. I did the research and knew what my options were and my husband knew what we wanted as well. So between that and trusting my doctor, I didn’t feel it was necessary.
But during this pregnancy, I moved across the country right in the middle. I have also seen 5 different practitioners of 2 different practices. None of them know me. They have to look at my chart to know my details. And when I go into labor, whoever is on call from the practice will deliver my baby. Whether I’ve met them or not.
So they may not see that I hemorrhaged several times after giving birth to my son. That for several hours every time I moved I lost incredible amounts of blood. I was unable to get out of bed until about 12 hours after giving birth and even then I almost fainted.
They may not look to see that my son has heart disease and that my daughter is supposed to be checked before discharge to make sure that her heart has no issues.
And I know they won’t know what I want or don’t want during labor and delivery. Because no one has asked me.
None of these things make them bad doctors. It’s just different from my first experience. So I am going to do my part to be prepared and have a birth plan with me. So my labor and delivery team can do their best to provide the care I am looking for.
The best thing you can do is make sure you do your research. Educate yourself and decide what your opinions and requests are.
Talk to your doctor about any questions you have and go on a hospital tour to know what to expect about their policies. Write your birth plan and be prepared!
Tell me about your birth plan experience, what worked and what didn’t.
PS. Planning on breastfeeding? Check out The Nursing Necessities .
PPS. Try to stay calm with 5 Ways To Lower Your Pregnancy Stress Level.