Many women make plans for any major event in their lives. Vacations, weddings, and special birthdays are good examples. Having a baby certainly fits into these other major events in your life. If you are a woman who makes lists for even trivial events, having a birth plan makes perfect sense. What should be included in a birth plan?
Value of Creating a Birth Plan
It’s true, not all plans work out as you expect, especially when having a baby. In fact, sometimes, nothing happens as you expect. So, why create a birth plan?
If this is your first child, a birth plan can make you aware of your options and how you want your labor and delivery to go.
A birth plan forces you to think through what you really want, don’t want, and why.
Having your wishes and preferences acknowledged can make you feel like you have some control.
A birth plan gives you a chance to mentally prepare for what is about to happen. It may not go exactly as you expect, but it still provides some grounding.
There is no right format or template, it should be a customized plan about how you want your labor and delivery to happen. Of course, being flexible is important in case of unforeseen events.
Although you may have in mind how you want things to go, your care team will not be advised unless you prepare a birth plan.
How to Develop a Birth Plan
Create a simple birth plan that highlights what is important to you. Work it out with your partner and be sure to have extra copies.
Some examples are as follows:
- Who do you want in the room with you during labor and delivery? Decide what and who will give you the most comfort and support.
- Decide about medication for pain. Do you want an IV, pain meds injected, or fluids through an IV? You may decide ahead that you would prefer not to have an epidural, but that could change if the pain is more than you expected or it is lasting longer than you thought it would.
- Do you want to have your water broken? This typically occurs spontaneously, but sometimes your doctor may want to do it sooner. It can help move the labor along quicker without any medication, but at the same time, it may make it more painful and can increase the risk of infection.
- Let your care team know if you want your baby on your chest for skin-to-skin contact as soon as your little one is born. This is important for immediate bonding.
- Do you plan to breastfeed?
- Do you want your care team to give your baby a pacifier? Most women have a specific preference, especially if you plan to breastfeed.
- Do you want your little boy to be circumcised?
Make your wishes clear, knowing that things can change during something as fluid as labor and delivery.