Congratulations on your upcoming delivery!
Welcoming a new life into the world is an amazing event that fills the hearts of expectant parents with joy and excitement. With the birth of your little one quickly approaching, it's essential to start thinking about how you'd like your labor and delivery to go. Let’s face it, labor and delivery doesn’t always go as planned, but a birth plan is a great tool to help your medical team understand what is important to you.
A birth plan is something for you and your partner to take time developing together. The more your partner understands the reasons behind each choice, the better advocate they will be for you in the delivery room. As you advance through the stages of labor and transition into active labor, it can be beneficial to have a supportive individual who is aligned with your choices and equipped with a reference document. This will provide valuable assistance throughout the process. Crafting a birth plan is a flexible step that can be taken at any time during your pregnancy. However, it is during the second trimester that expectant mothers often delve into researching childbirth and gain a deeper understanding of how the delivery process can be customized to align with their preferences. It is at this point that many mothers-to-be begin the process of drafting their birth plan.
To help you get started on your personalized birth plan, we have created a list of common questions you may find valuable to consider.
- Personal Details:
- Your name, partner/support person name
- Due date
- Provider’s name and contact information
- Hospital/birthing center name and information
- Doula’s name and information
- Pediatrician name and information
- What type of delivery do you have planned? Vaginal, C-section, waterbirth, or VBAC
- Do you have any medical issues your delivery team needs to know?
- Choose your labor environment. This could be a hospital, birthing center, or your home. Discussing the pros and cons of each environment with your partner and family members can help you make an informed decision and feel more in charge of the process.
- Do you want music playing or a quiet room
- Do you want dimmed lights
- How often do you want vaginal or cervical exams
- Do you want to be induced and what methods are acceptable
- Who do you want in the room? It is important for you to choose your support people wisely. The last thing you want to be is stressed during your delivery. You and your partner need to agree on who is in the room before delivery day to avoid any potential conflict.
- Who will be present during the labor and delivery? Partner/parents/doula/other children/family
- What role will they have in your delivery, if any?
- What are your pain management preferences? Before delivery, it is important to have a discussion with your doctor regarding these options as they may have additional choices for you to consider. If you choose to forgo an epidural, consider inquiring about the latest point during labor when you can opt for one if you change your mind, and then document it in your birth plan.
- Breathing techniques
- Water therapy
- What labor positions are you willing to try? Labor positions can help ease pain and make the delivery process smoother. If you want to use items such as a birthing stool or tub, be sure to ask ahead of time if these are available at your birthing center. Here are a few to consider for your birth plan:
- Lie on your side
- Hands and knees
- Use people for leg support
- Birthing stool, chair or ball
- Birthing tub
- How would you like fetal monitoring done? Fetal monitoring is important for the doctor to track the baby's heartbeat and health and you have options for how it can be done.
- Electronic monitoring with doppler
- Continuous fetal monitoring with a belly monitor belt
- How would you like to experience the delivery? You are just moments away from meeting your newborn during the active labor phase. At this stage, countless emotions flood your being leaving little room for decision-making. It is helpful for all to know your preferences ahead of time.
- Push spontaneously or as directed
- Increase epidural or let it wear off
- Avoid forceps and vacuum extraction
- Use whatever means the doctor deems necessary for the situation.
- What happens immediately after delivery? In this precious moment, a whirlwind of excitement and exhaustion intertwines, and what follows delivery may become a blur. It is crucial to establish and communicate your wishes in advance. Simply click on options A-C to learn more about each one and be sure to register for one of virtual seminars.
- Delay umbilical cord clamping
- Collect cord blood for private banking
- Donate cord blood
- Who is cutting the cord
- Do you want skin-to-skin contact
- Afterward: The time spent with your newborn and partner is precious and should be treasured. It's understandable if you want it to be an intimate moment shared only by the three of you before involving others.
- At what point do you want visitors
- Will you want a lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding
- Would you like someone to bring you a favorite meal for after delivery
As you create your birth plan, it's important to note that it is not a rigid set of instructions, but rather a flexible guide that can help you communicate your preferences with your healthcare team. Keep in mind that unexpected situations may arise during labor and delivery, and your healthcare provider may need to deviate from your plan to ensure the safety of you and your baby. Your birth plan can also include directives for those situations as well.The more your partner and healthcare provider understands your birth preferences, the better advocate they will be for you during labor and delivery.
Are you interested in learning more about cord blood banking? We’d love for you to join us for one of our upcoming virtual seminars!
Last Updated on: 09/13/2023 by Oleg Mikulinsky