Your Birth Plan
An important part of preparing for your birth is creating a birth plan!
A birth plan is a written record of details surrounding your labor and the period after birth. It outlines what you would like to happen during the labor and how you’d like for it to happen. Birth plans are important since they’re a solid record of what the mother wants for herself and her delivery. This gives mothers more power and freedom to execute their wishes.
Oftentimes, the anxious feelings of labor and the pain can prevent mothers from expressing what they do and do not want. In these scenarios, it helps to have a pre-written birth plan that was ideally discussed with your midwife or healthcare provider so they can follow through with your wishes.
What Should It Include?
As there is no defined content for a birth plan, you can simply outline the major details or you can strip it out to the tiniest detail, whatever works for you!
Here are some details you might want to put on your birth plan:
- Your preferred mode of delivery. Do you want to try a water birth?
- Where would you like your delivery to take place? At a birthing suite or at home?
- Do you want to labor at home before coming to the birth center?
- Who do you want to accompany you while you give birth? Just your partner, or do you want a doula or your mother, etc.
- Any special settings requests around your birth suite? Some people like to have a special kind of music, aroma, lights, etc.
- What kind of pain relief would you want during labor? Natural or medical?
- Do you want to be able to walk during the first stage of your labor or do you want to stay in bed?
- Do you want a doula?
- How often do you want examination or fetal monitoring to be done?
- Any special kind of food that you’d want?
- Are you open to the idea of getting an episiotomy if needed?
- Would you be willing to try instruments such as forceps or vacuum if it’s indicated?
- Do you want to breastfeed the baby immediately? Do you want to breastfeed at all?
- Any plans for the baby soon after they are born?
Who Needs To See It?
You can discuss your birth plan with whoever you want! It can be a family member, your partner, a friend, or your doula. However, it’s important to discuss your birth plan with your midwife or your healthcare provider, so they can ensure that what you want is doable and can be implemented when the time comes. You should also discuss the plan with whoever will accompany you during labor so they know what you want and can speak for you when you can’t.
Creating your birth plan helps you research, learn, and understand all of your options surrounding labor and birth. Spend time educating yourself on all the different details so you can go into your labor prepared and ready for whatever may come your way!