• Sarah

All about birth plans

“If you are prepared, you shall not fear.”

This is a verse of scripture but I think it applies to birth as well. Even though the unexpected may happen, preparation is key. One of those ways is to put together a birth plan. Whether it’s with a doula, your provider or just you and your partner, it’s valuable to set aside some time to think about what would be optimal for you and your baby when it comes time.

What is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a document that explains your choices and preferences during labor, delivery and the care of you and baby after birth. Whether it’s your first or your last, writing down a basic plan will help make your birth a positive experience.  

What sorts of things do I need to consider to put in my birth plan?

Here’s a list of things to consider:

  • intermittent fetal monitoring

  • having the water break on its own

  • medication or not and when you want it administered

  • episiotomy or not

  • the ambience of the room

  • frequency of vaginal exams

  • pushing help (being told when to push)

In a recent meeting with a client, Dani went over these and more. The mom was choosing an unmedicated birth for the first time for her fifth child. For some of the questions, she didn’t even know there was a different option to consider.

Some may think it’s a bit presumptuous to have a birth plan, because births are so unpredictable. Some may also think they’ll just defer to their doctor, nurse, midwife or doula. Communication is key and it’s important to know what you want and that others know it too. Your birth will be an empowering event if you go into it well informed and ready to work with your team whether it’s at the hospital, birth center or at home.

Dani Reed, doula at Mind Over Maternity said it best:

“We don’t write birth plans to tell our medical team how to do their jobs, or to try to control the process of labor; we do it to become educated on our options, and to facilitate clear and respectful two way communication through the intense and vulnerable process of birth, so that both mother and baby can emerge from the experience well.”

For more information on writing a birth plan, see the American Pregnancy Association for a more in depth article and thoughts to consider.

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