How to write a birth plan …
My second pregnancy has brought so many things to light, things I never looked at with the first pregnancy. I half regret not doing more research with the first pregnancy and planning my birth plans better to make sure I got the natural birth I wanted instead of the c-section. I have realized tho that you do learn loads from your first pregnancy and this helps you make choices for the second. I would also love to hear from you if you have written a birth plan and if it helped you or are you planning on using one?
With planning my Vbac (vaginal birth after c-section) It is important for me to plan and write down everything and also make sure that between me, my midwife, the hospital and my gynecologist that we are all agreeing on everything and all clear on how I want things to go. This is where the birth plan comes in.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a plan that you write out that contains what you want and what you do not want to happen during your labor and birth of your baby. It contains everything from what your method of labor is to wanting to eat or drink during labor. A birth plan serves to inform everyone that will be involved with your birth on what your choices and medical needs are so that while you are in labor you do not have to worry about getting your wishes put forward or worry about things being done in a way that you would not want. Your birth plan should be handed to all involved with your birth like your midwife, Dr, gynecologist and hospital. Putting your plans on paper make them more official and caregivers are more likely to follow through with what you want.
Why should you write a birth plan?
Reasons for you to write a birth plan are endless, I know you may be thinking that it is not necessary because you have already spoken to your gynecologist and it is all planned. But your gynecologist could change plans if you are not 100% honest with how you want your birth to go and with labor things normally change and happen last minute. The hospital also has its own way of doing things and staff that change shifts so its not said you will end up with a nurse or labor ward staff that will know how you want your birth done, giving them a copy of your birth plan for your hospital file solves this problem. Also take into consideration that labor is not easy and your plans and thoughts may be far from mind when you are in pain and focusing on getting the baby out. The birth plan takes care of all the little details for you and gets your birthing team on the same page which helps prevent unnecessary trauma and complications during birth.
What should my birth plan include?
- Your preferred method of labor (vaginal delivery, c-section, vbac)
- who will be present with you during labor and If you would like one of your appointed caregivers to be present at all time (Husband, doula or midwife)
- your freedom of movement during labor or if you want constant fetal monitoring and to be connected to machines or drips that effect your mobility or position to birth in.
- Can you eat or drink during labor, some hospitals try and avoid you eating during labor in case an emergency c-section is needed.
- What pain relief medication do you want and what do you definitely not want. This also goes for other injections and medication given during labor.
- delayed Cutting of the cord and assisted or non assisted placenta delivery. Do you want your husband or yourself to cut the cord. Some women want to take the placenta home with them.
- Baby’s care once born, vaccinations, testing and bathing are all things to think of. Bathing the baby and vaccinations can be delayed or not done in hospital, these are all up to YOU!
- Assistance with breastfeeding and baby after birth and how long you want to stay in hospital.
It is best to work through your birth plan with your caregiver or midwife , start with the things that happen from the moment you arrive at the hospital till when you leave. This will help you have peace of mind as well as assist in your birth going according to plan and being as comfortable for you and baby as possible.
My Birth plan includes things like wanting my husband or widwife with me at all times so when I am not clear on things they will be there to voice my birth plan and wishes for me. I want to have a vbac birth and do not want a c-section unless it is proven that the baby or me are in life threatening distress. I would like to be free to move around as I please and to birth the baby in a position that is comfortable for me. I have chosen to have cord clamping delayed and my husband will cut the cord and baby will only be bathed by me when we get home.
Starting with your birth plan even if it is a rough one can help everyone involved get on the same page, make sure your gynecologist reads and signs off on your birth plan. Also make sure that the hospital you are birthing at agrees with the birth plan. If there is something on your plan they are not happy with then work through it with them and find a solution or different method so that everyone is happy.