Birth Plans

These are a communications tool so everyone understands your preferences for labor and delivery.

In a birth plan, you choose how you you want your labor to be. You comment on:
-managing labor
-monitoring devices
-induction
-pain medication
-cesarean section
-episiotomy
-cameras, video cameras, music
-handling of the baby after the birth
-labor/delivery atmosphere

It is a non-confrontational way to make your wishes known.

Every hospital and caregiver is different, so unless you say what you want, you may be given a ‘default’ you don’t want.

A lot of women, when thinking about creating a birth plan, they have a few questions.

1). I’m not a doctor. What if I choose something that hurts my baby or me?
a- It discusses your preferences, it doesn’t override medically necessary procedures.
2). My doctor might think I’m questioning their professional judgement.
a- It demonstrates you educated yourself and you want to take an active role in your pregnancy and birth. If your doctor has a problem with it, maybe they aren’t for you.
3). I talked to my doctor about what I want, isn’t that enough?
a- Your doctor may only be there to catch and someone else might be on call and they don’t know your preferences. And the nurses have probably never seen you before, so they need to be informed.
4). I like the idea of a plan, and I think I want to try to get through the birth without meds. But what if I change my mind? Won’t I be stuck?
a- It is a statement of preferences, not a binding contract. If you change your mind, your wishes will be respected. It is your choice.

Even the best birth plan doesn’t take the place of educating yourself and good communication with your doctor.

Your birth plan should only be one to two pages long! If it is any longer, it won’t be read. And try to remember to be flexible, things could go wrong.

Consider having the first page for an uncomplicated birth/postpartum and the second page for complications, so you and the staff will be prepared.

In your birth plan, use words like “birth preferences”, “our wishes for childbirth”, “as long as the birth progresses normally”, “unless there is an emergency”. Positive words will go farther than negative words. “We hope to”, “we plan to”, “we anticipate”, instead of words like “we don’t want”, “we want to avoid”.

Make an appointment to hae the hospital staff go over your plan with you, and give you suggestions and feedback. I will be good to talk to people who know what it might be like. But if they make suggestions of things you don’t want, you don’t have to add them to your plan. Ultimately, it is your birth and no one elses.

In labor, you may feel like you will lose control, but a plan helps keep you grounded. It helps you feel like you are part of the decision.

A good article on birth plans can be viewed here. They also have a birth plan guide you can make here.

I would suggest anyone that is pregnant or planning a pregnancy to take a look at the creater, it has great options. Plus, you can print it off when you are done!

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One Response

  1. Great post! I am really interested in creating a birth plan for my next baby, and I didn’t really know where to start. Thanks for the info!

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