The reality is, your mom probably didn’t have a birthing plan but, I wonder what mom would have to say about a birthing plan…
When I was laboring with my half dozen children, back in the day, my plan was to not feel any pain and push a baby out of me. That was the basic gist of my hospital stay when I went into labor. By the time the last one came along, my birthing plan evolved into milking it for all it was worth so I could just take a nap. Birthing plans are a relatively new thing to evolve over the past few years. It’s good to be educated and knowledgeable on the birthing plans so you can decide if it’s right for you.
So, what is a birthing plan?A birthing plan is a document that allows your medical team to know your wishes when it comes to childbirth; managing pain, taking care of baby while in the hospital, and other important factors. Your birthing plan should be simple and to the point. Your medical providers, including nurses are busy people, they don’t have time to read a 6 page document, try to keep it to one page.
How to start writing a birthing plan?The most important thing to do before starting a birthing plan is to do your homework. Become familiar with the policies and practices of the hospital where you will be delivering. Just because you want to room in with your new baby, doesn’t mean you will be allowed to, or vice versa. Hospitals have rules in place to maintain continuity, order and safety so you must work within their boundaries.Consider how you want to manage unexpected circumstances. Perhaps you had planned on a vaginal birth but it becomes evident that you will be having a C-Section at the last minute, how will you manage that. Creating a birthing plan, especially if it’s your first is something to start drafting well in advance so you have time to consider all the unexpected possibilities.
Some other things to think about:
Who do you want in the room with you while you labor and deliver? Will you be using a Doula? How will you manage pain…massage, imagery, breathing techniques, jacuzzi, pain medications, epidural? Do you want to be mobile while laboring or stay in bed? What position would you like to give birth in? Make sure this point is well discussed with your doctor. What are your preferences for baby care?
With each consideration, make sure you discuss your plan with your doctor prior to and well in advance of your due date. Listen to his/her ideas and incorporate them, even compromise. Communication is one of the most important tools you have. Don’t just focus on what you don’t want…remain positive and list the important things you do want.
How to execute the plan…Take your plan to the hospital when you check in and go over it with your nursing team. Remember, a birthing plan is an outline, merely a guideline. You must be flexible since there are very few things you can count on when giving birth. Anything can happen and rather than get frustrated that things aren’t going as planned, trust in your team to deliver safe and compassionate care. If nothing else, a birth plan ensures that you have educated yourself on the birthing process and have realistic expectations. The birth plan can help you maintain your focus.
Whether you choose to have a formal birthing plan or not is up to you. The most important thing is that you, your partner and your doctor are on the same page with the same expectations. And, at the end of the day, your baby will arrive in a surrounding of love and caring.