When it comes to labor and delivery, I hesitate to use the word “plan”. Although what I’m talking about is actually called a birth “plan”, I believe the word “preparation” is more fitting. There is so much planning (or preparation) in and around the birth of a baby. There’s planning around conception and timing, baby names, nurseries, gender reveals, baby showers, child care, doctor’s appointments, etc. Why not put the same amount of energy into preparing how you envision your labor and delivery unfolding? A birth plan is a blueprint for your ideal L&D experience (before, during, and after). It is a way to communicate your wishes with the Hospital staff and to remain realistic with what the Hospital is actually able to provide. For example, if it is your goal to deliver in a birthing tub, but your Hospital of choice doesn’t have a birthing tub, you may need to seek out other options. Seems pretty straight forward, right?
When I was pregnant with my first child, my Husband and I were a part of a centering group. The group was led by one of the Midwives and a Medical Assistant. We got to know the group pretty well and I felt my wishes were known so I didn’t feel compelled to create a birth plan. In fact, when I called the midwife to say we were coming in to deliver the baby, she had already prepared the birthing tub without me having to ask! I highly recommend participating in a centering group if you have the option, especially for your first experience. It’s a highly supportive and informative program! Also, my Husband and I were fairly new to the area so it was a great way to meet others!
For our second pregnancy, we did not participate in the centering group. I met a new midwife at each appointment and only saw them for a short period of time. During this time there were also several new Midwives, which was wonderful, but I didn’t feel like we knew each other as well as I knew the Midwife who ran the centering group with my first pregnancy. In this situation, I felt it was necessary to create and share a birth plan with my healthcare team.
I shared it with a midwife at an appointment around 30-32 weeks (I believe…pregnancy brain!). We went through it together and she complimented me on several things which made me feel empowered! At my next appointment, I met with another midwife and she commented positively on my birth plan as well (I didn’t have it in hand so I know she read it in my file). YES! They all took the time to read it over and I know it resonated with some of them because they reiterated it back to me at my appointments leading up to the birth. This made me feel heard, comfortable, and supported by the birthing team- a priceless feeling!
Not sure where to start? Looking for some guidance? Here are some tips for writing up a birth plan:
Interested to see my birth plan? Here you go…
Payne Family Birth Plan
Big Sister: Savannah, 2.5 years old
*We understand that certain emergency or other medical circumstances may not allow for the accommodation of this plan*
Hospital Labor Goals
· We plan to have only Ryan (Dad) present for labor and birth- besides hospital staff of course!
· No visitors until we (mom and dad) have had at least 1 hour doing skin to skin with our new baby.
· No visitors until I have attempted to breastfeed
· I prefer to labor in the tub if available
*Although we are aiming for an un-medicated birth, I may change my mind and ask for an epidural (or laughing gas if available) *
Cesarean Section (if medically necessary)
Thank you for taking the time to help us achieve a natural childbirth for our second baby!
Whew, this is a lengthy post! I just love this stuff and I assume you do too if you've made it this far. Just remember, nothing is set in stone- you can change your mind at any point along the journey. And as always, what's right for someone else, may not be right for you- listen to your gut, you know yourself best!
Welcome to Moms in Harmony, I'm so glad you're here! My name is Meg and I'm a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, holistic advocate, wannabe blogger, Wife, and Mom trying to get the hang of it all. Kick off your flip flops and stay awhile!
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