Regardless of what type of birth you are planning, a birth plan is highly recommended. The birth plan is a written record of your desires for your upcoming birth. I have learned that good doctors appreciate a written birth plan. It allows them to have a clear understanding of you as a patient and your specific requests. It will ultimately lead to better birthing experience for both parties.
A written birth plan should be reviewed with your physician (or midwife) prior to your last trimester. The birth plan will open further communication between your doctor and yourself. The doctor may offer suggestions, denials, and/or seek special permis sions to accommodate you. Always, request that the birth plan be placed in your medical records.
You should also bring several copies of your birth plan when you go to the hospital/birthing center. I usually give the admitting nurse another copy of my birth plan, post a birth plan in my birthing room, and have copies on hand to give to new nurses.
Be certain to review your birth plan with your husband – it is a representation of you both. The better your husband understands your requests, the better he can advocate for you at your most venerable time.
There are many online resources for creating a birth plan. It can all be a bit overwhelming. I have posted my most recent birth plan. This is a birth plan that I used with my first VBAC and one that I plan to use this time around if I opt for a hospital delivery. I had great success with this birth plan. I briefly reviewed my birth plan with my doctor (Asst. Chief of Staff) that delivered Papi. She sent me straight to the midwife once she took a quick look at my desires, stating, “You don’t want me. You want a midwife! I’ll be there if there is in fact a medical need.” Her humble admission and willingness to pass me off for care allowed me to secure the midwife team. My requests were heard and special permission was sought. All of which were put into my electronic medical files so that all staff members caring for me would have complete access to my requests and approval. It was my hospital-homebirth!
Here is a copy of my birth plan as a PDF. All personal identifications have been removed.
Name & Medical Number
Mother: ________________ Father:__________________ Siblings:___________________________
We appreciate your kind care and respectfully request the following for our labor and birth.
- Intervention only as medically necessary (noting routine) and with our consent (not general)
- Freedom to move about, our choice of positions for all stages of labor
- Encouragement of natural relaxation techniques
- Relaxing, unhurried environment
- (option of having) whole family together during entire birth process
We recognize that true emergencies do sometimes arise, and we will be relying upon your skill in the event of such a circumstance. We hope to have full communication in that case, with you informing us of all our options. If there are items in our birth plan that cannot be accommodated please let us know immediately so that we may anticipate the change.
No arbitrary time limit, routine induction of labor, or stripping of membranes
Attendants and Amenities:
- Husband to be allowed to stay with me at all times
- My other children to come and go as desired
- To bring music
- To dim lights
- To wear my own clothes during labor and delivery
- To take pictures and/or video during labor and delivery
Labor (Stage 1):
- Once I’m admitted, I’d like:
- No routine vaginal exams
- To have intermittent rather than continuous electronic fetal monitoring
- No routine IV – to stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids (saline lock if IV is needed)
- To eat if I wish
- Unrestricted movement and positions throughout labor
- No arbitrary time limits or routine augmentation
- Membranes left intact to rupture spontaneously, esp. prior to engagement of head
- Pain relief by relaxation, birthing pool, shower, walking, and other movement and position changes
- Opportunity of signing: Against Medical Advice” waivers if certain options are declined
Please do not offer me pain medication. I’ll request it if I need it.
Birth (Labor Stage II):
- Choice of comfortable and effective positions
- Birthing pool, squatting, hands and knees, whatever feels right at the time
- To birth at my own pace with no arbitrary time limits
- Encouragement to birth slowly and gently following pushing urges, allowing tissues time to stretch and pelvic outlet to open properly
- Possible compresses and perineal support to allow tissues to stretch
- A mirror available to view birth
- To touch my baby’s head as it crowns
- The room to be as quiet as possible
- To risk a tear rather than have an episiotomy
- My husband to help catch our baby
Birth (Stage III)
After birth, I’d like:
- To allow baby to clear own mucus naturally rather than routine suctioning
- Baby to be placed on my abdomen immediately upon birth; warming by skin-to-skin contact and blankets placed over baby – putting off any procedures that are not urgent
- To allow cord to stop pulsating completely before any clamping, cutting or administrations of medications to mother
- My husband to cut the umbilical cord
- Local anesthesia should there be any tearing in need of repair
- Time for breastfeeding and natural separation of placenta
- No manual exploration of uterus after birth
- Breastfeeding as desired by myself and baby – on demand
- Not to get routine oxytocin (Pitocin) after I deliver the baby
After delivery, I’d like:
- All observation/examinations/procedures for baby to be done in my presence
- Rooming-in with baby
- My husband to stay with the baby at all times if I cannot be there
- My children (3 girls and 2 boys) brought to see me and meet the new baby as soon as possible after birth
- Bathing done at parent’s request, by parents, or not at all if parents desire
- I DO NOT want my baby to receive ANY routine injections/vaccinations without being consulted first (this includes Vitamin K). We will commence immunization with our doctor after the birth
- Vitamin K given only with informed consent of parents. (Oral dosage in my presence)
- NO eye medication/treatment
- Pediatric exams in mother’s room
- PKU test given only with informed consent of parents (after a length of breastfeeding)
- NO circumcision
- 100% breastfeeding on demand; no bottles, water, pacifiers, etc.
- My brown scapular (cloth necklace) is to remain on for the duration of my stay in the hospital
- A Priest may be requested to visit in the case of an emergency for either my baby or myself
- Priest’s Name & Number
This is day 10 of my pregnancy reflections. I realize that the idea of the 31 Days series was to have 31 posts on one topic within the month of October. Let’s just say that I’m functioning on my own terms these days. I won’t have 31 posts in October but perhaps I can manage 21 more posts before my baby is due – that’s 4 more months for 21 posts.
You can find the other posts of my 31 Days here.