A birth plan is a communication tool that explains how ideally you’d like your birth to go. Having a birth plan wrote out before you head to the hospital is an essential part of the birth process. Whether you’re planning to have an unmedicated or medicated birth, a home birth or a C-sectikon, a birth plan allows you to show and tell your nurses and doctors exactly what you do and do not want to happen during your birth. An effective birth plan will list out your desires and wishes that you’d like to happen before, during and after birth and delivery.
Of course there’s no guarantee that everything on your birth plan will go exactly as planned, but it’s a good idea to have a guideline that you can refer to. If for any reason you are unable to communicate what your wants and needs are, or if you just simply forget them in the moment, a birth plan will be a lifesaver for not only your nurses, doctors or midwife, but for you as well.
I’m not a doctor, midwife, doula or nurse, but there are a few things I think are important to keep in mind when writing your birth plan. Of course it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor to make sure you’ve included everything you need.
- Do you want medication? List what kinds of pain relief you do/don’t want.
- Who will cut the baby’s cord?
- Do you want specific music played?
- Who will wash the baby?
- Who do you want in the room with your during labor and following birth?
- What kinds of monitoring of the baby you wish to have during labor?
- Do you want an epistosomy?
- Will you be breastfeeding after birth?
- Who do you want with you during labor?
- Do you want to keep your placenta?
- In case of an emergency- who is in charge?
- Do you want a mirror? Do you want a fan?
- Any special request?
- Do you want your boy circumcised?
I’m so glad I made a birth plan for myself. It helped me to feel more relaxed knowing all my wishes were done on paper. I was lucky to have an awesome nurse. I handed her my birth plan when I first arrived to the hospital and she glanced it over. Right away, she knew I didn’t want an IV so she didn’t even have to ask. She knew I didn’t want drugs- so she never asked. She knew I didn’t want visitors in the room during labor- so when they came she asked them to leave. All of the she knew because of my birth plan. She never had to ask nor was she unsure about anything because everything was done on paper. When you’re in labor, the last thing you want to do is talk to your nurse/doctor/doula about your preferences and wishes for birth. Especially when you’re in hard labor and when you can’t comprehend even the smallest things.