How To Write A Birth Plan (Everything You Need To Know)
I was enjoying a lovely brunch with my gal pals one day when the topic of giving birth came up.
I had just entered my second trimester and was loving the fact that I got my appetite back and could actually keep food down.
Giving birth was a faraway concern in my mind.
I knew I was going to be faced with delivery day eventually, but I didn’t spend much time thinking about it—at all.
My friend, who was already a mom, shared her experience and explained how a birth plan helped.
Silly me didn’t even know something like this existed!
After some chatting and my own research, I learned that they could be very helpful to first time moms.
Read on to learn everything there is to know about these plans and how to write your own!
What Exactly Is A Birth Plan?
A birth plan is a concrete plan that helps your doctor and/or midwife understand your wishes and things you wish to avoid during labor and delivery.
Basically, it outlines a main plan and also has a backup plan or two built in in case things take a turn.
Why Do You Need a Birth Plan?
You may want a birth plan because it helps to clearly express what you want or don’t want since you may be out of it due to anesthesia, or too overwhelmed to communicate properly.
Things can happen quickly in a labor and delivery room!
It’s important to remember that although you have a plan, if an extreme emergency situation arises, the doctor may have to bypass it in order to keep you and your baby safe.
When Should You Write Your Plan?
It’s a good idea to start thinking about your labor and delivery in the midst of your second trimester.
You could go into labor early, so it’s wise to start thinking about things.
Keep an open line of communication between you and your healthcare provider, and show them drafts of your plan at your appointments.
By the time you start your third trimester, your plan should be set in stone and finalized.
5 Things to Include in Your Birth Plan
Not sure what exactly to put in your plan?
Here are some of the top things to consider:
Who's in the Room?
Who do you want in the room when you go into labor?
Your spouse? Your spouse and your mother?
Do you want them there the entire time?
Or, are there just certain stages during the process that you want them there with you?
You also have the option to decide if you want your partner next to you during your delivery or C-section.
Some moms have their friend, parents, or children in the room during a vaginal birth.
But, for a C-section, it’s usually limited to spouse only.
This is a big one!
You must decide if you want to utilize an epidural or go all natural.
But, keep in mind that birth plans are flexible. It’s ok to change your mind at any point.
I went into the labor room thinking I could get by without any pain relief, and after eight hours I had to tap out and get an epidural.
It all depends on your personal preference, goals, and comfort level.
Are you in need of special equipment to delivery comfortably?
Some moms want to have a water birth (or simply sit in a whirlpool during their labor).
Some moms want to bounce and roll on birth balls (which are basically exercise stability balls).
Some moms need mats or beanbags to use during labor for stress relief or comfort purposes.
It all depends on your wants and needs.
Skin to Skin Contact
Many moms wish for their baby to be placed directly onto their bare skin (usually tummy) immediately after giving birth.
This is done for bonding/recognition purposes.
While some moms are totally fine with immediately receiving their freshly delivered baby, other moms prefer a bit of a clean up first!
In some cases, such as a C-section, it may not be possible to take advantage of this option depending on your state and your baby’s individual medical needs.
Another big part of a birth plan revolves around feeding.
You also want to outline if your breastfed baby is permitted to have any bottles of formula or not.
It is your call if you want to nix the formula and strictly stick to breastmilk.
If you are on the fence about nursing, you can request that a lactation consultant be present to walk you through the process to help you try to feed and get the hang of things before you completely rule it out.
Anything can go into a birth plan, but these five topics are the most popular things to think about and include in one.
You should also consider putting in any religious requirements or customs you’d like carried out if this applies to you, as well as if you have any kind of disabilities that you need addressed during your labor and delivery.
A birth plan isn’t always followed to a T, but it does help your healthcare providers get a better understanding of what you want and don’t want to happen on your D-day.
It helps provide you with a peace of mind and allows you to process the event before it actually happens.
This will help you make better decisions and be prepared for anything and everything!