Having a child is exciting but let’s face it, it can be tremendously stressful. Many aspects of having a baby are new territory for first-time parents. There is a lot that goes into planning the big day, and at times, it can be overwhelming. So, let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a birth plan?
What is a Birth Plan?
To keep it simple: a birth plan is a document that lets your medical team know your preferences before, after and during your labor and delivery. The birth plan acts as a map or guide of how parents envision their labor and delivery. Although things can always change unexpectedly, a birth plan is a way to communicate for a healthy process clearly.
A birth plan is simply a guide for your health care provider, giving them your preferences for the experience so you can focus on the important task: delivering your baby. This list should complement the limitations that your medical team and hospital environment can provide.
Creating the Birth Plan
Before you start, make sure to connect with your health care provider in order to understand what options are realistic and available for you. This information is key to opening your possibilities and closing unrealistic expectations.
Once you have thoroughly researched your options, pull out the pen and paper (or laptop) and start writing!
What to Include in A Birth Plan
Ultimately, it is up to you what goes into your birth plan. We suggest keeping it short and sweet - about one to two pages. Below is a birth plan template of what you may want to include.
In some cases, you may not know the doctor on call during your labor and delivery. A short paragraph introducing yourself can be a great way to add a personal touch. At the very least it should include your name, due date, and any medical conditions you may have.
It is also wise to introduce your primary support person. Your primary support person can be your partner, family member, or birth doula. Make sure to explain their role and provide their contact information. This can also include who the hospital or birthing center staff should go to in case you are not in the position to respond.
It is essential to set the space and environment you want during labor and birth. This can start only with who you would like in the room. This can be a list of close family and friends that you want with you in the room.
You can also mention how you would like the room to be set up. For example, if you want the lights dimmed or certain music playing. Would you like to wear your clothes or a hospital gown?
You should also include things that make you uncomfortable. Ask yourself if you are okay with medical students assisting or nurses being getting a bit touchy. Writing this down can help create a clear path to a relaxed environment.
One of the most important things to include in your birth plan is your preferred method of pain relief. This should cover whether or not you would like an epidural and how soon you would like the epidural. This can also include birthing options, methods or movements you may want to use to cope with labor pain.
Another important thing that probably won’t be on your mind while giving birth is how you will stay hydrated. You can mention in your birth plan your preferred way of staying hydrated whether it is water, ice chips or an IV.
There are a few things to consider for your birth preferences during delivery. First, if you are planning a vaginal birth, how do you feel about an episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision made in the tissue between the vaginal opening and the anus during childbirth. On the other hand, if you need a C-Section, who would you like to have in the room with you?
You will also want to include who you would like to cut the umbilical cord. Another thing you may want to mention is if you would like your baby placed on your abdomen right after the delivery- this creates immediate skin-to-skin contact with your newborn.
P.S. You will want to lay some boundaries for those in the room, like where you want them to stand or if you want videos or photographs taken.
After the Delivery
The main event is over, but there are still many decisions for after the delivery. In your birth plan, specify what medical procedures you are comfortable with to be given to your baby. Also, include whether you will be breastfeeding or using formula. Lastly, think about whether you will want the baby to be with you at all times or if you are ok with them spending some time in the nursery.
What to Do With A finished Birth Plan
With your birth plan completed, review your birth plan example with your healthcare provider to ensure all your needs are possible. Once your birth plan is finalized and ready, make copies for your doctor, midwife, doula, and support person. Keep extra copies just in case!
Starting a Family With Modamily
Modamily is a community of people who share the dream of having a child. Modamily helps members connect with others who have the same values and desires for their child. Recently launching Modamily Concierge, now members can choose to use direct professional help throughout their search for a sperm/ egg donor, surrogate, co-parent, or romantic relationship leading to children.
Modamily focuses on connecting you with someone who shares your vision and value system for how you want to start a family. When a Modamily connection is successful, a birth plan can be a good idea for creating a clear understanding between co-parents or between surrogates and intended parents.