Birth Plan

Birth plan is very important even though birth very rarely follow a plan. Having a birth plan does not mean that things will go exactly as you like. You can plan out every single thing that you want to happen and it may or may not work out that way. Birth, in that way is analogous to parenting- curveballs are frequently thrown.

writing a birth plan

Regardless on where you are planning on delivering, home, birth center, or hospital a birth plan can be useful. If you are planning an epidural a birth plan can help communicate that to your nurse and medical team. Even if you are scheduling a cesarean sections a birth plan has its uses.


Benefits of Birth Plan


One of the biggest benefits to having a birth plan is that in making it- you have to consider options and figure out exactly what you would like or would not like to happen at your baby’s birth. Writing it and discussing it with you husband or partner, and your care provider can help you all be on the same page- especially if some of your wishes deviate from the norm for the hospital or birthing center.
It helps a lot to have your partner and your doctor all on the same page and supporting you. The last thing that a laboring woman needs to have to argue with someone about what they want.

How to write a birth plan


Keep it concise. No need to re-write War and Peace or Shakespeare’s greatest works. You just need this to communicate effectively what you would prefer to happen during your labor. Usually a page is sufficient- like a resume.


Start with your basic idea for your birth; are you aiming for an un-medicated birth? Or would you like pain medication right away.
Next discuss your preferences for labor. Would you prefer dim lights and whispering? Music? Aromatherapy, food and beverages, hydro therapy, position changes and any other comfort measures you would like use. Just because you think you will want one thing, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Some moms plan on using massage and aromatherapy in labor and birth only to find that being touched bothers them to no end.


Remember that just because something is hospital policy does not mean that it is ‘your’ policy; you have the right to decline interventions to you or to your baby.


Also discuss what kind of interventions you consent to. Assuming you have a low risk birth and pregnancy, how do you feel about continuous electronic fetal monitoring, IV placement, or cervical checks?


What kind of pain coping strategies are you planning on using? Would you prefer to have an epidural placed right away? Use IV medication? Are you planning to use natural coping techniques?
Plans B-Z
It would be great if everything went according to plan, honestly things don’t always so you need to be somewhat prepared for a C-section delivery. Who would go with you to the OR?


By this point in your birth plan your baby is delivered, but there are more things to think about.


What do you want to happen after your baby is born? Would you like to breastfeed right away? To have your baby evaluated on your chest if possible? Consider the possibility of rooming in. Research indicates that shows mothers who room-in with their babies actually get better and more sleep than mothers who send their babies to the nursery. (Keefe, M. R. (1988). The impact of infant rooming-in on maternal sleep at night. Journal of Obstetric,Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 17(2), 122– 126.)


Consider how you want to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is the only normal food for an infant- honestly and truly. Breastfeeding may be natural but it is not always easy. Obtaining the help of a lactation consultant to get started can be crucial, it can save a ton of stress and anxiety. It is a good idea to request the help from a lactation consultant verbally and in your birth plan to make sure you get help.


If you do not want your baby to be given bottles of sugar water or formula be sure to state so explicitly in your birth plan as well as verbally to your caregivers.   Similarly, if you do not want you baby given a pacifier clearly state so; otherwise the nurses however well meaning, may do so.


Allowing your newborn to meet all of his sucking needs at the breast is good for both of you. Skin to skin contact helps you baby regulate his temperature and your scent is comforting as is your voice and heartbeat. His suckling stimulates your uterus to contract to its original size, expel the placenta, minimize bleeding, as well as stimulate your milk production.
Your birth plan is not a step by step plan that will absolutely be followed; it is more to figure out what you want during your labor and birth experience. At minimum it can start you thinking about what you want for your experience and it can start a conversation between you and your health care provider and partner.
Labor and birthing can be an intensely spiritual and transformative time for you as a person, as a woman, and as a mother. Giving the experience the consideration it warrants is a good way to start out your journey of motherhood.


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