Monday, 3 December 2012

Writing Our Birth Plan

OK here's the deal with birth plans. They are a bit overrated. Plans change. You may wanna bust your doctors balls about an all natural birth, and then find out you need a c-section. So first and foremost, make sure your birth plan leaves room for change.


Secondly, prioritize. What's most important to you? For some it might be no meds, for others it's rooming-in with baby. Keep your birth plan short and sweet. I know you feel like telling your doctor exactly how to get your baby out of your vagina... But they are pretty familiar with the process. And I promise if your birth plan is four pages long, not one nurse or doctor is going to read it. In fact, it may not get read and followed according to plan anyway. So, be our own advocate, and make sure your birth partner is familiar with what you want. In the midst of a contraction you might not remember to tell them you didn't want an episiotomy.

Some things you might want to include in your birth plan:

  • What is your pain management plan?
Are you really going for an all natural birth? Do you know what contractions feel like? As a first time mom, I chose not to include whether I would need pain relief or not. I don't know what labor feels like. I did however include that I would not want any kind of IV pain medication. From what I've read and heard from other mothers, although it is supposed to "take the edge off and help you relax", many complain it just makes you loopy and doesn't help with pain. It can also affect the baby, because it is in your bloodstream. If I needed pain relief, I'd personally rather go for the epidural.


  • How do you want to labor? How do you want to deliver? Who do you want present during delivery?
Do you want to use labor time to rest, or do you want to move about the room? Will you be using a birthing ball, squatting bar, tub or shower to help with labor? I'd like the option of getting in the tub, or using my birth ball in the room. If it helps labor progress, I'm gonna try it. Keep in mind, if you have an epidural, you won't be moving around much. Do you want to deliver on all fours, or using the squatting bar? You can include this in your plan.


  • What do you want done after delivery?
Do you want the umbilical cord cut right away? Are you banking cord blood? Would you prefer skin to skin time? Will the baby be rooming in with you? Most hospitals really encourage skin to skin time after delivery. Personally, I want the option to breastfeed immediately, so unless the baby needs to be taken for medical evaluation for any reason, I don't want the baby to leave my arms.


  • Will you be Breastfeeding?
This one was very important for me to include. Nurses or doctors may encourage the use of some formula after birth for low blood sugar, the baby not gaining weight, etc. You need to decide how important breastfeeding is to you and be your own advocate (within reason, of course). It was important for me to include that I did not want to the use of any formula, or artificial nipple by bottle or pacifier used. It is just my preference to establish a good breastfeeding routine before introducing anything like that.


  • What vaccines will your baby receive?
Again, this is a personal preference. Shortly after birth most babies are given a Vitamin K shot, antibiotic eye ointment, and Hepatitis B vaccine. People can debate all day about vaccines. I'm not here to do that. I am in no way anti-vaccine. But we will be following a slightly delayed schedule with our baby. Since I do not have Hep B, and I don't feel my child will be exposed to it in the early months of her life, we will simply put this off til a later pediatrician visit. Again, your child. Your decision.

The Bump has a tool for writing your birth plan that might be helpful: here

Here's another article about decisions you might have to make shortly after the birth of your child: here


And if you really want to see mine. Here it is. I tried to keep it as short and sweet and to the point as possible. Remember, we all have the right to whatever kind of birth experience we want. This are just my preferences. :)

My birth plan

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