Birth plans are becoming more and more common. They can help you and your partner become more involved in making as many of the childbirth decisions as you possibly can. A birth plan is a simple way to make your preferences for your birth clear to everyone. Read more on birthplans below.
The best advice for making a birth plan is to be realistic. Being realistic means being flexible - this way, you won't be disappointed if things don't go according to plan, and they rarely do. But even a birth with many interventions can be a very positive experience if you are able to participate in the decisions about the interventions. Naturally, circumstances come up where you can't make every decision and you will need to trust your caregivers to do what is best in a emergency situation.
Some things to consider when creating your birth plan:
- Who you want in the delivery room (partner only, family, friends, other children)
- Eating and drinking during labor
- Activities or positions during labor (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees, lying on back)
- Enemas/shaving of the pubic hair
- Routine IVs
- Rupture of membranes (artificial or spontaneous)
- Fetal monitoring
- Pain relief/ medications
- Mirror during birth
- The use of pitocin (and other options for induction/augmentation)
- Forceps/vacuum extraction
- Vaginal exams (minimal)
- Relaxation techniques (shower, bathing, music, massage)
- Camera/video camera use
- Umbilical cord cutting
- Cord blood banking
- Holding your baby immediately after birth/breastfeeding immediately
- Rooming in
- Supplementary bottles, pacifiers
- Length of hospital stay, barring complications
- Postponing administering eye drops/weighing until after you hold/breastfeed your baby
- Being present for first bath, weighing and administering eye drops.
- Cesarean (partner's presence, anesthesia, holding your baby/breastfeeding in delivery/recovery room)
Be sure to make enough copies of your birth plan to give to your medical provider (have one put in your chart), the hospital staff, your support people/partner and put one in your hospital bag to bring with you when you go into labor.