Home » How to Create Your Birth Plan: A Checklist for Parents

How to Create Your Birth Plan: A Checklist for Parents

It can be rather difficult if not downright impossible to convey your wishes in regard to birth once the contractions start. However, most expecting moms know how they want their delivery to look like by the third trimester. These days, this experience can be personalized in a number of different ways. This is where the formal birth plan comes into play. Basically, this is a formal document that factors in different aspects of childbirth and the things you want done. Of course, a lot of these can be arranged well before the delivery date, but it’s still important to address the birth plan in its entirety in time. If you’re interested in creating a birth plan, consider the following points.

The Place Where You’ll Give Birth

For starters, parents have to decide where the expecting mother will give birth to the child. The typical three options include the hospital, a maternity center, and one’s own home. Hospitals tend to be the most popular choice as these days there are plenty of hospitals with bedroom-like settings for delivery rooms. Of course, if something goes wrong, the issue can be addressed immediately. Maternity centers are recommended for lower-risk pregnancies. The delivery is performed by midwives and can be very personalized. Obviously, the most personalized experience involves giving birth at home, but this is recommended only for very healthy ladies who have already gone through complication-free pregnancies. In this case, you should come up with a backup plan, just to be on the safe side.

Feel Free to List the Details

Aside from the place of birth, you also have the right to describe the ideal setting for your labor room. For instance, you can point out that you want enough room and help to walk around, have your prenatal massage therapist there, have the light brightness adjusted the way you prefer, play the music you want, have a TV in your room, or maybe even have an available bathroom close by, and so on. Also, make sure that you state who can be present in the room during the labor. Just call the hospital/center you’ve chosen beforehand to check whether there’s a visitor limit in general.

Suggest Specific Birthing Apparatus

This particular point is ideal for women who have already given birth and have a general idea of what position and apparatus seem to suit them the best. If you decide to go with a birthing bed, you might want to add different positions that you wish to try so that the staff can help you do so during the labor. In this case, there are several different positions such as lying down on the back, lying on one’s side, kneeling with arms resting on the upper part of the bed, or kneeling on all fours, as well as squatting. You can also choose the birthing chair instead of the bed if you think this would be better for you. Of course, make sure to discuss all of this with the healthcare provider beforehand.

State the Labor Specifics

There are other aspects that can further personalize and make the labor experience more comfortable and enjoyable. For instance, your birth plan can state the person you want to cut the umbilical cord, which is typically the other parent. That said, don’t forget to include your decision about cord blood banking as well. Furthermore, you can add the information about your attitude towards pain medication, what kind you want or whether you want that at all. In the same vein, you can opt for or against episiotomy, as well as choose between Intermittent external fetal monitoring, which allows moving around, and continuous external fetal monitoring, which requires one to stay in bed.

Different Postpartum Options

Aside from the delivery matters, your birth plan can also include information about additional practices postpartum. For instance, if you give birth to a boy, you might be inclined to have him circumcised a couple of days after birth. In case you’ve decided to go through with collecting the blood from the umbilical cord, you need to have everything arranged and stated whether you want it collected by a private or public bank. There’s also the question of rooming so that your newborn can be in the room with you all the time instead of the nursery.

It’s true that you have many different decisions to make but this is precisely why you should start crafting your birth plan sooner than later. Don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider all the questions that might linger on your mind so that you can make the best decisions without any second thoughts. Most importantly, this is something moms-to-be should do together with their partners; after all, the other parent is the one person who has to be included in the plan almost as much as the expecting mom because they’ll be the ones to make decisions in case anything happens. 

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