Making a Birth Plan - Topics to Consider
Making a birth plan is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the birth of your baby. When your care provider and your doula know exactly what you'd like, decision making during labour and birth becomes smoother, giving you more time to focus the task at hand. It also allows your doula to advocate for you if she sees that your preferences aren't being met. However, it is also important to consider how you might feel if things don't go entirely as planned. Will this affect the way you see your birth as a whole? If so, what can you do to make it feel better for you? Working with your birth team to make your birth a positive experience can set your postpartum days off to a healthy start!
To get you started, I've compiled a list of items to carefully consider. I encourage you to do research on any items you are not sure about, and talk it out with your partner, care provider and your doula.
~ Who will be at the birth?
~ Plans for siblings?
~ When your midwife will come to your home (Your midwife will guide you in this)
~ When will you go to the hospital?
~ When will your doctor try to be there?
~ Pre-labour rupture of membranes (PROM) Should you call your doctor/midwife, go to the hospital? If you don't have GBS, how long can you wait for contractions to start before having an induction?
~ Pictures & Video (who, when, of what?)
~ Vaginal exams - when, who will do them? (Only doctor/midwife, no students or interns?)
~ Blood samples - when will they be taken?
~ Positions for labour and birth (freedom to move around, no back lying? prefer to squat if possible?)
~ Eating and drinking during labour
~ Fetal monitoring (intermittent or continuous)
~ Pain medication - Demerol, Morphine, Fentanyl, Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas), Epidural
~ Other pain relief methods - TENS machine, Acupuncture, massage etc.
~ Antibiotics for Group B Streptococcus
~ Induction - When? How? (Acupuncture, nipple stimulation, prostaglandins, castor oil, Cervadil, Pitocin)
~ Artificial rupture of membranes
~ Hot compresses on the perineum during crowning
~ Cesarean Section
~ Forceps/vacuum delivery
~ Breech birth (is vaginal an option? Cesarean section preferred?)
~ VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean
~ Cord clamping and cutting (when, who)
~ Pitocin for the delivery of the placenta
~ Suctioning of baby at birth
~ Baby placed on mother's tummy right after birth or taken and cleaned up
~ Erythromycin ointment for baby's eyes
~ Newborn exam (when, where)
~ Vitamin K for baby
~ Bathing the baby (where, when)
First Postpartum Hours:
~ Private time for parents and baby after the birth
~ Breastfeeding immediately after birth
~ Supplemental feedings for baby (formula, sugar water)
~ Rooming in with baby
~ When do you want to go home? (early discharge if possible)
You will likely add more details to this list as you think about each item and what it may branch off to. Be sure to write down everything you think about. You can add or remove anything later if it doesn't feel important to you.
Once you've completed your plan and shared it with your birth team, sit back and relax while you wait for your baby to arrive! Everything is in place for a beautiful birth!