How To: Create a Birth Plan
With my first pregnancy, I didn't have a birth plan. I wasn't aware of birth plans at the time. I do remember that I didn't have a lot of say in my labor and delivery. I will say I did explain that I wanted an unmedicated vaginal birth (a natural birth) and thanks to one nurse, and my mom, they made sure that's what I got.
This time around, I've done my research and have compiled a birth plan that suits me and my wants and needs during labor and delivery. There are tons of things you can put on your birth plan, but I kept mine short and simple, covering only the most important things to me. Keep in mind that nothing is set in stone, that this is more so of your birth preferences.
If you decide to create a birth plan, make sure to go over it with your OB.
At the top, you're going to put your full name, date of birth and due date. Yes, this information will be all over your charts, so make sure to include it in the birth plan as well.
I listed the name of my obstetrician, the name of the practice, address, and phone number.
Also, I listed the name of the hospital I plan to give birth at, just in case you are somewhere else and have to give birth at a different hospital.
I then give a brief summary of my birth plan, explaining I want a natural vaginal birth and who my support person is.
Next, you want to list the three stages of labor and what are your expectations for each.
Stage One: This stage is more so about pain management, mobility, and the environment you're in during the early stages of labor. If you choose unmedicated, list other methods of coping with pain. This part also involves fetal monitoring and vaginal exams to check your cervix for dilation.
For me, my only concern was emphasizing no drugs and access to move around if possible during the early stages of labor.
Stage Two: This is more so about your pushing/position preferences. Do you prefer to be sitting? Standing? Squatting? Open to using a vacuum or forceps to help baby out? This is also where you need to consider the possibility of a cesarean delivery. It may not be your original plan, but your birth plan is just a guide. It is not permanent due to any medical conditions that may come up. If you are to have a C-section, who will accompany you?
For me, I emphasized my husband is the only person to be in the room with me at that time. Before, during the first stage of labor, it would have been my husband, daughter, and mom. I am open to different birthing positions that can prevent tearing. I am not open to the use of forceps or a vacuum unless medically necessary but I want it explained to me and my husband prior to use. I also understand the possibility of a c-section but ONLY if medically necessary.
Stage Three: This stage is all about umbilical cord preferences, breastfeeding, and skin to skin, as well as any other newborn care. Who will cut the cord? Will you be delaying cord clamping? Placenta encapsulation? Circumcision? Baby rooming in or nursery?
For me, My husband will cut the cord and I want immediate skin to skin contact for at least the first hour. We're exclusively breastfeeding and do not want any pacifiers offered. Baby is to remain in the room at all times, and if baby needs to leave, my husband will accompany the baby. We also plan to circumcise baby.
Under stage three, I also listed the baby's doctor, the name of practice, address, and phone.
We also included a section for preferences on visitors.
At the end of our birth plan, we emphasized that we have done our research, we respect the opinions of others and would like respect in return for our decisions. Of course, we made sure to thank everyone involved.
Don't get too wrapped into your birth plan. Remain flexible at all times. Just like birth can be a joyous, exciting time, it can also be unpredictable. It is better to be open and flexible than to get worked up over the possibility of change, especially if medically necessary. Mama needs to be happy and calm in order to have a happy and calm labor and delivery to welcome a happy and calm baby. The main goal is to stay happy and calm if you didn't catch on.
I hope this information was helpful in your process. There is tons of templates and information out there. Do your research and do what's best for you. Every birth experience is different.
Love & Light,