The large majority of births don’t go as planned. That’s not to say anything crazy happens; it’s just that no mother knows exactly what she’ll want until she’s actually in the midst of it. Plus, births can be longer or much shorter than expected, and, yes, once in a while – something unexpected happens.
Having a birth plan sets your intentions and informs your birth team, so you’re more likely to experience the labor and delivery you desire.
5 Tips for Creating Your Birth Plan
Here are five tips for creating your birth plan.
1. Talk to your OB about it well ahead of time.
Ask your OB about her views on supporting your birth plan, so she can chime in with what works or what doesn’t and can let you know how the team typically works with birth plans. Speaking with her ahead of time allows you to get on the same page and ensures you prepare a birth plan in a format easily understood by the birthing team. If changes need to be made, it’s better to know that now.
2. Keep it down to 1 – 2 pages.
Whittle your general plan down to one page, two if necessary. The reality is a good birthing team will be more interested in you and your baby than a piece of paper. It should be short enough – and organized enough – to scan and read quickly. The details can be filled in by your partner and/or accompanying family/friends. That one-to-two pages should include what happens to the baby after s/he is born – as well as your plan in case there’s an emergency, like requiring a C-section rather than a planned, vaginal birth. Be prepared for everything.
3. Take a childbirth education class and use what you learn.
Information provided at a childbirth education class will help you determine what you do and don’t want when it comes to natural and synthetic pain management, labor and delivery interventions, C-sections, newborn care (delayed cord cutting, skin-to-skin bonding before Apgar scoring, breastfeeding, etc.). A certified childbirth educator presents this information with research-based evidence and should inform you about risks/benefits. Afterward, you’ll be able to create a more thoughtful and research-based birthing plan.
4. Take a tour of the facility and ask questions.
It’s all well and good to plan to labor standing up and then squatting when it’s time to deliver – until you learn your hospital requires women to be laying down and attached to a fetal monitor. Touring the labor and delivery facility ahead of time, and learning about their options, prevents you from planning things that can’t happen once you’re in labor – which is a very frustrating experience.
5. Provide post-partum care requests.
Do you have a preference regarding anti-inflammatory/pain medications? Is there a laxative or stool softener you prefer? Do you get nauseous or sick from certain narcotics? Post-partum care information should be included as well.
Still, searching for your just-right labor and delivery team? Women’s Health Associates is committed to helping women have the birth they want. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.