Making Your Birth Plan

The birth of your baby should be one of the most memorable, life-changing, and joyful experiences of your life. You will want to spend time thinking through the details of your hopes and desires for this special event.

Starting with a journal, write down as many thoughts and plans for the upcoming birth as you can. Your journal will help you establish priorities and provide a list of ideas to help you create a birth plan.

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a simple, clear, one-page statement of your preferences for the birth of your child. Providing a copy of the plan for everyone directly involved in the birth will help them better understand what is happening and give them the opportunity to resolve issues before the big day. Because there are so many aspects of birth to consider, it is best not to wait until the last minute to put your plan together.

The plan will provide an effective avenue for discussing important details with those responsible for supporting and caring for you.

Try to remain reasonably flexible in your desires because things don’t always go according to plan. Remember, the important thing is the safe birth of your little bundle of joy.

Compile Considerations

You may want to consider dedicating an entire page for an uncomplicated birth/postpartum and a second page about how to handle complications should they occur. The following list of questions might seem overwhelming, but now is the time to consider them one by one.

If you find that a question does not pertain to you, just move on to those that are relevant.

  • Who do you want to be present?
  • Do you want a physician or midwife ?
  • Will there be children/siblings present?
  • Do you want mobility, or do you wish to stay in bed?
  • What activities or positions do you plan to use? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees)
  • Do you prefer a certain position to give birth?
  • What will you do for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, tub, IV medication, or Epidural)
  • How do you plan to stay hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
  • Are there certain measures you want to use/to avoid?
  • What are your preferences for your baby’s care?
  • Do you want to wear your own clothing?
  • Do you want to listen to music and have focal points?
  • Do you want to use the tub or shower?
  • If you need a cesarean, do you have any special requests?

Always remember to leave your options open. You just don’t know what will be best for you until you are in labor.

Consult Your Health Care Provider

Keeping in mind that every birth is different and that the definition of a “normal” birth can vary, try to use terms and phrases like “birth preferences,” “our wishes for childbirth,” “as long as birth progresses normally,” or “unless there is an emergency.”

The Power Of Positive Thinking

Design your birth plan with a positive focus. Instead of making a list of what you don’t want, focus on what you do want. Use phrases like, “we hope to,” “we plan to,” or “we anticipate.” Try to avoid phrases like, “we don’t want” or “we want to avoid.”

Here are some examples:

  • “Regarding pain management, I have studied and understand the types of pain medications available. I will ask for them if I need them.”
  • “Regarding an episiotomy, I am hoping to protect the perineum. I am practicing ahead of time by squatting, doing Kegel exercises, and perineal massage. I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch.”
  • “Immediately following the birth, I plan to keep the baby near me. I would appreciate that the evaluation of the baby be done with the baby on my abdomen and with both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.”

Source: American Pregnancy