Whether you’re planning a natural birth, an epidural, breastfeeding or not..more than likely, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of your options. Who knew there was so many ways to have a baby, right?!
The best way to get over this anxious feeling, is to educate yourself and your partner and “plan” your baby’s birth. That’s where a birth plan comes into place. Though you can’t control the experience entirely, you can get ready for it.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is essentially how you envision your perfect birth. It includes a list of preferences such as: how you want to manage labor pain, if you are okay with residents in the room, how you would like to push, if you would like to do immediate skin-to-skin, if you are doing delayed cord clamping or donating/banking your baby’s cord blood, and so much more.
Having a printed document is the best way to plan your birth. It not only gives you a peace of mind, but it’s in writing and gives you a place to make your wishes clear so that everyone present – your doctor/midwife, nurse(s), partner, doula, etc. – can respect your wishes and do the best to make it the experience that you want it to be.
Things to Consider on Your Birth Plan
It’s fun to think about the right music, aromatherapy and fuzzy slippers to pack in your hospital bag. By all means, include these details in your birth plan! You might know you’ll want your own robe from home, the music you listened to while relaxing in prenatal yoga class, a camera to take millions of newborn photos, a nursing bra and a journal to keep track of your experience. Anything that will help you feel comfortable is important.
Here are some other things to consider when writing your birthing plan
1. The Ambiance and Environment
A quiet and calm environment where you feel safe and confident will help keep you relaxed and let your labour develop quickly and smoothly. Things to consider include:
- Noise: Do you want peace and quiet?
- Lighting: Do you want the lights dimmed or do you have a preference?
- Soft music: See if there’s a CD player in your room or if you should bring your phone
2. Skin to Skin Contact
Immediately after your baby is delivered he/she can be placed on your tummy giving skin to skin contact. This can be very beneficial to baby so make sure it’s noted on the birth plan.
Make sure to note if you would like to breastfeed or not. One of the most crucial times for establishing a breastfeeding bond is at birth. Did you know Winnie Palmer Hospital offers breastfeeding support? Click here for more information.
4. Cord Cutting
Do you have a preference of who you want to cut the cord? Do you want to delay cord cutting until the pulsating has stopped? Make sure you note these preferences on your birth plan.
5. Induction and Pain Relief
You will want to note on your birth plan if you prefer to be induced or let induction happen natural. You’ll also need to tell your doctor if an epidural is preferred or not.
Whenever possible, make positive statements of what you do want to happen rather than gathering of list of “don’ts”. Birth plans that demonstrate a cooperative attitude and flexibility will be well-received by your birth team and show your willingness to work together.
Your birth plan does not replace your conversations for informed consent/informed refusal, but can remind you and your partner of your preferences when decisions must be made.
The Benefits of a Birth Plan Before Labor
You Pick Your Birthing Preferences: When you create a birthing plan before labor, you have the ability to pick your preferences for your childbirth experience. Your nurses and physicians will be able to follow along the plan as long as safety and/or unexpected conditions allow
Your Birth Plan Is Your Voice: You will definitely be busy since you’re the one going through labor and giving birth. Being the mama can make it difficult to speak up for yourself and remind your team about your preferences. Having the ability to hand over a document with your wishes makes it so much easier.
Allows You to Savor the More Precious Moments: Knowing that your birthing plan is in place, you won’t have to worry about choosing your preferences so you can savor every single moment of childbirth and that precious baby.
Grants You a Peace of Mind: With a birthing plan in place, you’ll have peace of mind knowing all of your wishes will (should) be granted.
The important thing to keep in mind when coming up with your birth plan is to keep an open state of mind. As we all know, birth is an unpredictable event and not everything will be in your control.
You only get to have this baby once and this experience will be with you forever. So make it one that you will enjoy.
Winnie Palmer Hospital Offers Resources to New Moms
Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Children is one of my top choices for giving birth in the Central Florida area. I love this hospital because they believe and promote birth plans and also offer so many resources to make you feel prepared for your birth.
Visit www.winniepalmerhospital.com for more information.