Creating A Birth Plan

How and why you should put together a birth plan ahead of time. PLUS a free example of a birth plan.

A few weeks ago we met with one of Seth's former co-workers, Jess, who is a midwife and doula to learn more about our birthing options and more about the basics of labor and giving birth. It was so helpful. I strongly, strongly suggest that everybody attends some sort of birthing class, whether at a hospital or taught privately by a midwife, that goes over the whole process of labor and delivery and your various options. We found it so helpful to meet with Jess even though I know basically what to expect in labor/delivery, it was helpful in getting me (and Seth) and the right mindset for getting organized. It was her idea that we create a basic birth plan because I didn't even have one of those. Yeah I know, I was slacking. From our meeting with Jess, Seth and I decided that we would like to labor at home, especially since we only live 15 minutes from the hospital, and have Jess on-call in case we have questions while at home or want her to come check on progress. We'll then go to the hospital once contracts are close enough together for at least an hour and if I feel like my body is saying that it's time. With all of that in mind I began creating my birth plan and I thought I would put all of my research to even more use and help you guys out with creating your birth plan. Below you will find the basic questions that should be answered in a birth plan as well as my suggested layout. I have already emailed Jess my birth plan and gotten her opinion on it, and I suggest you find somebody to the same. 

Layout of the Plan

To begin with, at the very top of the document I have my full name and date of birth along with baby's name and Seth's full name and phone number (just in case). I then broke up the plan into a few different sections; main topics are

Labor + Delivery

,

My Postpartum Care

,

William's Postpartum

Care

,

In Case of Cesarean

, and

In Case of Induction

. Under Labor + Delivery I had bullet points discussing

Visitors

,

Pushing

,

Medications + Pain Relief

,

Fetal Monitoring

Hydration/Eating

,

Atmosphere

,

Seth's Role

,

Delivery

, and

Cord Cutting, Banking + Circumcision

. The only bullet point under My Postpartum Care is

Pain Relief

and under William's Postpartum Care I discussed

Feedings

,

Other

, and

Pediatrician

. As for the "in case of" sections there were no subtopics, they are already pretty narrowed down. Of course, feel free to add or remove the sections that do or do not apply to you. In the subtopics I answered the questions below in the appropriate sections.

Questions/Points to Cover

  • Who should be present/allowed in the delivery room? Are you okay with family and friends visiting in between contractions, will children/siblings be present, will your partner remain in the room, etc.
  • Are there any activities/positions that you plan to use? Such as walking, squatting, hands and knees, etc.
  • What would you like to do for pain relief? If medication, is there a preference for type? Other than epidural type medications include things like message, hot and cold packs, etc.
  • What is your opinion on fetal monitoring?
  • How do you want to stay hydrated? Sips of water, ice chips, IV, etc.
  • Preferences for baby's care. Where to sleep, when to feed/how to feed, etc.
  • What clothing do you wish to wear during labor/delivery? Hospital gown vs. your own clothes.
  • Do you want to listen to music or have focal points?
  • Special requests if a cesarean becomes necessary.
  • Does your partner wish to cut the cord?
  • Do you want the baby laid on your chest directly after birth?
  • Do you want to breastfeed directly after birth?
  • What are your thoughts on having student nurses in the room?
  • Cord blood banking. Will you bank the cord, donate, or do nothing and let the hospital dispose of it? 
  • Do you want your doula present? If so, what role(s) would you like them to fill?
  • Do you wish to eat during labor? Most hospitals do not ordinarily allow you to eat while in labor which is one of the reasons that we have chosen to do most of the laboring at home.
  • Do you want a routine IV or heparine/saline block?

Helpful Links

Here are a few links that I found extremely helpful in making my birth plan:

My Birth Plan

If you would like,

here is the link to a PDF version of my birth plan

. I've spent a lot of time working on it, researching what to put in it, and getting feed back from my doula so it hope it helps you with putting together your plan!

I hope you were able to find all of this helpful and informative. I know once I got my opinions and wishes down in writing it made me feel so much calmer about the whole situation, having it written out made me feel ever so slightly in control which relieved some anxiety. Sometime in July I'll sit down and write out my labor and delivery experience so that I have it to remember for the next time around and hopefully it can help you in some way as well. Did you make or not make a birth plan? Did you attend a birthing class or meet with a doula or midwife? Is there anything you included in yours that I didn't? 

Love,

Abby