Preparing for the birth of a child is no simple feat. You’ve probably thought about it all: names, nurseries, feedings. And while you may not be able to control exactly when or how your baby will come into the world, that doesn’t mean you can’t give some thought to your labor and delivery experience. Creating a practical and feasible birth plan helps ease your mind for the big day ahead.
A birth plan is a written document outlining your key preferences for your healthcare team in advance of the main event—if everything goes according to plan. Let’s take a closer look at the top considerations to make for your birth plan. Here’s what to keep in mind as you write out this checklist.
Setting and Atmosphere
Above all, remember that your plan is completely individualized to your wants and needs. This includes the setting for the birth first and foremost. Birth plans offer comfort for home births or those in more clinical settings. Whether you use a midwife or OB-GYN, consult with your care provider on the services and assistance options available to you at home, in a birth center, or at a hospital.
After deciding on the primary setting, consider the atmosphere of the room. Will you prefer a water birth or a bed birth? An assortment of labor positions? A dimly lit or well-lit room? Any music, aromatherapy, or rituals to create a soothing and relaxed environment?
Labor and Delivery Room Must-Haves
Next up, consider who will be there in the room besides your care provider or other medical staff. Perhaps you will allow a partner, mother, sister, friend, or doula? Describe with concise detail the must-haves to provide the greatest comfort and support. Will you wear your own clothing or a gown?
Outlining your labor preferences is key to your checklist. The labor question that typically receives the most attention is that of pain relief. Do you plan on a medicated or unmedicated delivery? Will you use diverse pain management strategies and approaches? Do allow for the possibility of changing your mind during the process. Consider your feelings about medical intervention, surgical birth, or assisted care details as well.
Newborn Procedures and Post-Birth Care
Do you desire photos or videos to document the delivery? Who will cut the cord? After considering these decisions, think more extensively about immediate newborn care. These postpartum period requests include skin-to-skin time, breastfeeding, cord clamping, cord banking, cord donating, testing, rooming-in, and more.
Backup Plans and Discussions
Another top consideration to make for your birth plan is a backup plan. Even if you detail the circumstances of the birth backward and forward, unexpected things can still happen. If things are to deviate from your expectations, having a backup plan of alternative perfection is well worth it. Talk with your support system about any concerns to ensure everyone is on the same page. Starting to discuss this plan early on can provide that sought-after peace of mind for health and well-being on your special day.