When I was pregnant with my first child, I had no idea what a “Birth Plan” was until a friend mentioned it at work. Creating a birth plan before the big day arrives, is helpful to have an idea of how you want to experience and remember this day. Make sure to click on the link at the bottom of this post to download your birth plan document.
- Birth Experience: The most important factor is to have a safe delivery, of course. However, not everyone wants to have the same birth experience. Some may want a natural birth, others would want a home birth, or it could also be at the hospital but without an epidural or any pain medications. These options and concerns should be discussed with your health care provider so he/she can prepare for labor.
- When Should I Start? The 30-week mark is a good moment to begin discussing your birth plan with your delivering doctor. I liked having this done with some anticipation just in case I decided to change my mind on certain aspects of labor. If you decide you want something completely different the day of your delivery, you can always say so and they will accommodate. So don’t be scared!
- Be Open Minded: Keep in mind that even though it’s a written plan, things may not happen the way you expect them to happen. For instance, I planned for a natural birth (with medications) and I ended up having an emergency C-Section because I was 37 hours in labor and I wasn’t dilating enough. Consequently, I began having a high fever which could ultimately be a huge risk for the baby and/or me. I’m glad I had packed enough clothes to stay at the hospital for either scenarios. Even though I had to have a C-Section, I was able to make some requests such as having my husband join me in the operating room for support and to take pictures/ videos of the big moment.
- Mood in the Room: Setting the scene was a big thing for me. You have the choice to have dim-lighting in the room or music of your preference. Just don’t forget to bring your speakers. I personally wanted to have dim lighting and Norah Jones station to relax the mind and feel comfortable.
- Medications: Sometimes health care providers might suggest the usage of some medications to move things along or to decrease your pain level. Be sure to mention on your birth plan your feelings or thoughts about this. This includes epidurals, other pain medications, Pitocin (to help you dilate), etc.
- Monitoring: Be aware that they might suggest to constantly monitor you and your baby. Be sure to mention on your birth plan if you feel comfortable with monitoring and/or internal examinations.
- Episiotomy: Another important point is having an episiotomy. An episiotomy is an incision in the perineum that might be necessary to facilitate delivery if the fetus is in distress. If you’re not comfortable having this incision, it is important to write it down on your birth plan as well.
- Skin-to-Skin Contact: Skin-to-Skin contact was a HUGE deal for me. I wanted to make skin-to-skin contact with my baby as soon as she was born. If I wasn’t able to do so, I wanted my husband to be able to experience this magical moment. I reminded doctors and nurses not to take the baby for examinations immediately after birth, but after my husband was able to do skin-to-skin contact.
- Baby Products and Care Procedures: You can also request to have nurses and staff use your own baby products (such as shampoo, soap, diapers, diaper cream, clothing, etc). Remember that everything that’s provided to you in the hospital is hospital grade. I liked taking advantage of the free goodies by using their products at the hospital and then I used mine at home. It’s just a matter of preference.
- Capture the Moment: You can also request permission to have a professional photographer to take pictures at the hospital. Some hospitals have professional photographers in the hospital that you can hire.
- Baby in Room or in Nursery: You can also decide whether you want your baby in your room at all times or if you want nurses to take the baby for a few hours a day or during the night so you can get some rest/sleep. I personally wanted to have my baby next to me at all times.
All in all, you need to remember that this is YOUR baby and YOUR experience and you can mold it to be whatever you wish, but always staying within hospital and safety regulations. We only experience this a few times in our lives and I consider that we should take advantage of having the most beautiful and memorable moments of our lives. To all expectant moms, GOOD LUCK and CONGRATULATIONS!
To download your FREE birth plan document, click here —-> Birth Plan Document