A Birth Plan is a written record that gets your goals and wishes for your labour and birth across to the people providing you care. In hospital settings, birth plans enable continuity of care, where numerous midwives and doctors can be working with you, referring to the document can give everyone similar expectations.
A birth plan should include issues that are most crucial to the mother, those which will go against what is routine at the place of birth, and those about which the mother and caregiver may not be already aware.
Know Your Options :Visit Childbirth.org for an interactive birth plan to stimulate your thinking
- Where will your baby be born?
- When will you go to your birth place?
- Will you and your partner ever be separated?
- What antenatal preparation have you gone through ?
- How will the baby be monitored in labor?
- Will you be free to move, walk, change positions at will?
- Will there be time limits on the length of your labor or pushing?
- What positions might you use to push?
- How will you push?
- Will you have an episiotomy?
- Will you breastfeed immediately?
- Who will cut the cord? When will it be done?
- Will the baby ever be taken from the parents?
- When will you go home if you are in a hospital/birth center?
Examine your feelings :You both need to decide what things are important to you and then discuss your feelings and make any necessary compromises.
Consider your priorities:List your choices in order of priority - most important first. This is how most medical people think.
Evaluate your situation: Are your choices realistic? Are most of your choices openly supported by your birth team? If not, will you compromise or make other arrangements?
Make an appointment for both you and your partner to sit and talk to your practitioner. Make a brief list of options to discuss based on things you already know your MD or midwife supports. Be sure to stress that this is a scenario for a normal labor situation. Let the person state feelings about your choices. Discuss emergency situations and find out how your provider would handle them. Some practitioners believe that birth plans are useless, or worse, that they are a directive to the practitioner, so they resent the interference! It is preferable to think that they are a wish list to remind people of what you would like, in a perfect world. Try to get across to your practitioner and the hospital/birth center staff that you are flexible and that you understand that in an emergency they will have to make some decisions for you - that's why you picked this team/birth place, and you trust them to keep you and the baby healthy and safe! (If you don't trust them, see if you can find another practitioner/place to give birth - how can you have a good birth if you spend the whole labor in fear?)
Be sure to phrase your final birth plan in a pleasant and polite tone - do not present this as a list of demands. This can help everyone feel more confident and increase your chances of having the birth experience you want. Be sure to include your flexibility should any unexpected situation arise!
Give copies of the birth plan to the hospital/birth center, and everyone involved.
Keep the original with you in your labour bag.
Dear Obstetrician and Midwife,
As long as it is safe for my baby & I, then these are some of the things that my husband, ______ and I would like during labour and birth. We appreciate that the information is preference only and will be subject to change if a medical emergency arises.
We request full discussions of events and situations along with our Doula, _____________ for all medical procedures ie. Augmentation, forceps, ventouse and caesarean. I nominate my partner, __________to make any decisions that are going to affect me or my baby.
We request Minimal disturbance for the labouring mother.
- I do not want to be induced
- Please do not limit first stage
- I would like to have and my Doula with me at all times
- Please do not offer me enema/suppository to empty my bowels
- My preference is to birth in the shower, or if not possible on the floor. I would like to be allowed to deliver in whichever position feels most comfortable. I want to be free to move around at all times.
- Please have the lights dimmed and the room quiet
- I do not want regular internal examinations
- , I will request it if desired
- I prefer to not have electronic foetal monitoring, if necessary, intermittent monitoring is preferred
- I would like to be free to use massage, acupressure, aromatherapy oils, hot/cold packs or whatever else might be appropriate for pain relief
- Please allow maximum pushing time. Please refrain from coaching. I believe my body knows how to push.
- I would like to be encouraged to try different positions such as kneeling, squatting and rocking.
- If tearing seems imminent please ask for hot towels or try perineum massage. Episiotomy along with forceps and ventouse to be avoided unless baby is in distress
- If there is no urge to push prefer to wait if baby’s heartbeat is okay
- We would like to discover the sex of our baby ourselves, please do not tell us or prompt us to find out
- As we would like to have a Lotus birth,
- Delivery of baby onto tummy immediately (without being cleaned or wrapped) or if not possible given to
- Allow baby to feed if it wants to on demand
- I would like no interruptions to bonding
- Postpone newborn screening tests until after we have been left alone for a while immediately after birth, I would like_____ to hold the baby during newborn screening
- If the baby has to be removed from the room,______ is to go with the baby
- If in doubt of full placenta being delivered, please scan
- I do not want my baby to have anything other than colostrum and breast milk
- In case of caesarean, I would like_______to be with me throughout operation.
- If possible, could I please have an epidural for the operation, so I can be awake for the birth?
- Can I hold and breastfeed the baby immediately after the birth, or if not possible, can Frank hold the baby immediately after delivery and accompany the baby to nursery or special care nursery if necessary.
- If no private rooms are available, we will be requesting an early discharge of 4-6 hours after the birth of our baby.