|Developing a Birth Plan
At this point in your pregnancy, you’re probably beginning to feel impatient at your size, afraid of the pain labor will bring, and excited about meeting your new baby. The best way to keep your conflicting emotions in check is to begin to develop a birth plan. This plan will help outline the steps of the process to ensure your baby’s arrival goes smoothly.
What Is A Birth Plan?
A birth plan outlines what you want or don’t want during the birth of your child. While it may seem picky or controlling to some, a birth plan is actually useful. When you’re in the middle of active labor, you’re not going to feel like discussing what positions you’d like to try as you push your baby into the world. Nor might you remember to voice your desire about having the birth videoed, or allowing your partner to cut the umbilical cord. This birth is only going to happen once, so you’re better off outlining the process in advance
A Birth Plan Doesn’t Mean You Get What You Want
Unfortunately, not everyone has the birth they envision, and it’s important to look at all aspects. Though you may expect a natural birth, you’ll still want to provide a plan for a possible emergency Caesarian just in case. Take steps now to outline these unforeseen surprises will give you peace of mind and your medical professional team insight to your wishes.
What Should You Consider?
There are so many things to consider when developing a birthing plan, since birth is a very personal and lengthy process. However, you’ll want to try to keep your birth plan short and to the point if possible so important details aren’t overlooked. Some even recommend a shorter plan for your doctor and hospital staff, and a more detailed plan for your birthing support team (husband, coach….) To make things easier, break your plan down into sections: labor, delivery, and post-delivery.
- Do you wish to be able to change positions or walk?
- Do you want dim lighting; prefer to play your own music?
- Do you want to limit the number of people in your labor room, such as interns and other non-necessary personnel?
- Would you like to be able to keep your contacts or glasses in?
- What are your preferences for IVs, fetal monitoring, and induction if labor doesn’t progress as planned?
- Finally, do you wish to have an epidural, a natural birth, or do you want to wait and see how things go?
- Do you wish to be able to try different positions, like squatting?
- Do you want an episiotomy, or do you wish to try natural methods of stretching the peritoneum?
- Do you want a mirror available to see your baby’s birth?
- Do you wish to have leg support from staff and your labor coach?
- Do you want to wait to push until you feel the urge, or start the pushing phase as directed by nurses?
- Do you want to nurse immediately?
- Do you or someone else wish to cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you have plans for cord blood banking, or wish to donate?
- Would you like the baby evaluated and bathed in your presence?
Make sure you make plans for an emergency, such as a caesarian section. If allowed, depending on the nature of your emergency, your partner may still be able to cut the umbilical cord and you may be able to have pictures taken of the event.