Are you writing a birth plan but having trouble where to begin and what to include? If so, you came to the right place.
If you’ve been reading for the past few months you could probably guess that I did not write a birth plan for my first child. However, after a less than great birth experience that resulted in what I think to be a premature C-section, I’ve done my research this time and see the importance in writing a birth plan.
Why should you write a birth plan?
First, I think it’s most important to write a birth plan for yourself to remind you of exactly what you want when you are in labor when you might not be thinking clearly. Next, it is most important for your husband or significant other so they know exactly what they need to do to be your best advocate while giving birth.
I wish I could tell you that if you write a birth plan all the doctors and nurses will read it and your plan will fall nicely into place, but I don’t want to be naïve. Unfortunately, some of the hospital staff will not read it and might even roll their eyes, but there are some excellent nurses out there who will and try their best to help you achieve the birth you want. For all who will read your birth plan it is also great to keep everyone on the same page while shifts change.
I also need to mention that there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to birthing a baby so it is okay to keep an open mind and stray from the plan if medically necessary.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when writing a birth plan:
- Organize your plan by stages of labor
- Write a bulleted list (people will be more likely to read it).
- Keep it to one page! If you write a novel no one is likely to read it.
- Remember to include details if an operative birth is necessary.
- When you check in ask them to include birth plan in your chart.
Example of a Birth Plan:
This is similar to what my birth plan is going to look like. Please remember that I am using HypnoBirthing techniques for my birth (read more about that here).
Pre-Admission: (for your OB/Midwife)
- To remain at home as long as possible before going to the hospital.
- To use only natural means of inducement, moving to gels, Pitocin drip or other procedures as a last resort.
- To decline routine IV prep upon admission (I know a Hep-Lock is necessary since I am a VBAC patient).
- Wear my own clothes while laboring.
- To use the wireless monitoring system so I’m free to move and labor in the shower, tub, on the birthing ball or walking around.
- To have my room as quiet and calm as possible with subdued lighting and drawn drapes.
- To decline discussion on pain tolerance and pain levels and discussion of medical intervention (epidural, pain meds, internal monitoring) unless in the case of a medical emergency.
- To only allow my husband and medical staff in the room while in labor.
During Active Labor:
- The patience and understanding of medical staff to refrain from any practice or procedure that could stand in the way of our having the most natural birth possible.
- Only necessary hospital staff please. We ask that staff honor our request for quiet and refrain from offering medication unless requested.
- To drink as much water as requested.
- Freedom of choice to walk, move and to change labor positions.
- To assume a birthing position of choice that will least likely require episiotomy.
- Episiotomy only if necessary and only after consultation.
- Father to remain with baby in case of a surgical birth.
- Allow up to 30 minutes if necessary for natural placenta delivery, no Pitocin unless a medical emergency.
- Immediate skin to skin with baby.
- Allow father to call the sex of the baby!
- Allow baby to remain with me or my husband (in case of surgical birth) for bonding.
- Delay use of Erythromycin for baby’s eyes to allow optimal sight for bonding.
- Oral Vitamin K to be used if it’s available. If not, delay injection until after baby is acclimated.
- Breastfeeding only please. No bottles, formula, or pacifier.
- Allow to baby to stay in our room as much as possible.
Remember this is only an example and only a starting point for you. I hope this helps you while you’re writing your birth plan!