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Preparing for Baby: Writing a Birth Plan
Preparing for childbirth is an exciting time in a woman’s life. When I was pregnant with my first child, I did everything the pregnancy books recommended, including writing a birth plan. Since I had never birthed a child before, I had frightening visions of rushing to the hospital in the middle of the night to endure a long and painful labor. I wanted to create a detailed birth plan that would serve as a guide for the nurses and doctors who would be taking care of me and my expected child. I wrote the plan with a flexible attitude, knowing that things might not, and probably would not, go as I planned.
Use the topic headings that follow as a blueprint for writing your own birth plan. Customize your plan to your needs and expectations.
My Birth Plan
Priority: health and safety of mother and baby
- This birth plan is being developed before the labor and delivery process begins. I understand that there are no guarantees that this plan will be carried out the way it is drawn up here because there is no way to predict what my labor and delivery will be like. Most importantly, I AM FLEXIBLE! I want what is in the best interests of my baby and myself.
Presence of others during labor and delivery
- I want my husband there with me at all times during labor. He should only leave if I ask him to do so. I would also like my mother and sister to be present during labor and delivery. After the baby is born, I want my husband to go wherever the baby goes.
- I do not want a room full of people during labor and delivery. I don't mind having family members in the room some of the time, but I will probably be tired and irritable and do not want to be distracted or irritated by others being in the room. If I ask someone to leave, it is for the good of the baby and myself. I think it might be best if people just come in for short periods of time and then leave.
Use these books to create a birth plan that's right for you
Labor and Delivery
- I would like to drink and eat lightly during active labor to keep hydrated and energized
- I would like to put off the insertion of an IV if possible. If an IV is required from the start, I would prefer a hep lock unless IV fluids or medications are being infused.
- I would like to be able to get out of bed during labor (walking, standing, sitting, etc.) if that is most comfortable
- I would like to try using the shower during labor
- I would like to try various positions during labor, such as standing, sitting, squatting, and so on.
- I would like to listen to soft calming music
- Pain Medications: I am flexible and would like to wait and see how well I handle the contractions without pain medication. I prefer not to have an epidural, but I may feel differently during labor, and I will not be disappointed or discouraged if an epidural or use of pain medications becomes necessary.
- I prefer the camera and video camera be turned off during the actual delivery.
- Fetal Monitoring: If continuous fetal monitoring is used, I prefer external monitoring so I will not be confined to the bed. I would only like internal monitoring if it is deemed medically necessary.
- I prefer not to be augmented with Oxytocin unless it is deemed medically necessary.
- I strongly prefer not to have an episiotomy. I am worried about the risk of infection.
- I do not want a vacuum extractor or forceps to be used.
- I strongly prefer not to have a C-section due to the risk of postoperative infection.
- However, if a C-section is medically necessary, I will not be disappointed or discouraged. I want whatever is medically best for the baby and for myself.
- If a C-section is needed, I would like an ON-Q pain pump postoperatively if possible.
- I would like to hold the baby immediately after he is delivered, before he is taken away to be weighed, etc.
- I would like to try breastfeeding immediately. If not possible immediately, within the first 15 minutes or less.
- My husband would like to cut the umbilical cord.
- We will not be banking cord blood.
- I do not want a supplementary bottle or pacifier given to my baby unless I agree to it beforehand.
- No circumcision, please.
- I permit use of a camera and video camera after baby is born.
Did my labor and delivery go according to plan? Yes and no. I did get an epidural, so the expectations about not having an IV, walking, showering, and eating during labor became obsolete. My labor was much shorter than I expected it to be, so there wasn’t much downtime. I was able to hold my baby and try breastfeeding within the first fifteen minutes after his birth. Although my labor took a different path in some ways than what my birth plan had originally mapped out, I delivered a healthy baby boy without any complications. Of course, that’s the most important thing.
I encourage pregnant women to create a birth plan just to educate themselves about what can go on during labor and delivery. You don’t even have to give it to the nurse who is taking care of you at the hospital if you don’t want to. Organizing your thoughts about what you would like to happen and what could happen is important when preparing for the birth of your precious child. Good luck!
Birth Plan Links
- Create your own birth plan | BabyCenter
Create your own birth plan
- Interactive Birth Plan - Childbirth.org
The easiest way to write out your desires for your birth from Childbirth.org
- Make a birth plan with our Birth Plan Generator - plan a smooth pregnancy and delivery
Create a birth plan for your delivery