The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that physicians support a more individualized approach to labor management. This means that more in-depth birth plans will presumptively be more common place among expecting mothers. Birth plans can be short and sweet or more detailed. However you want to plan out your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to develop a birth plan that meets your needs during this special time.
What is a Birth Plan?
A birth plan is essentially a list of preferences that outline what you want during pre-birth, labor and delivery as well as right after you have given birth. It is a document that provides scenarios for the best birth experience for the parents to be. It’s important to note that, like many other types of plans, birth plans have a tendency to change based on updated information, practitioner preferences and other items that may conflict. Now that you have a general idea of what a birth plan is, you now need to know what to include in a birth plan.
What Should You Include in Your Birth Plan?
Preferences Before Birth
Think about what you want the atmosphere to feel and look like before giving birth. Some obvious items would be to include who you want to be in the delivery room. Other than your partner, you may want to include other children, friends, family or your doula, if you have one. You may also want to identify some snacks or drink preferences. Some other items to think about include:
- Do you want to walk around or sit up during labor?
- Will you be giving birth in a hospital, at home or another location?
- What music would you like to play in the background?
- Will someone be taking photos or video of the experience?
- How do you want the lighting?
- What items or equipment would you like with you during active labor?
- What are your preferred birthing positions?
Preferences During Birth
Decisions for ‘during birth’ are a bit more serious in nature and include how you want to manage labor, its pain and delivery preferences. Here is where you would describe your preferences for vaginal or cesarean section, depending on any unexpected complications. Other items you may want to include are:
- Will you use an epidural or another type of medication for pain relief?
- Instead of medication, will you utilize alternatives to manage the pain?
- Will you allow vacuum extraction or forceps during delivery?
- What will you allow, or not allow, when it comes to inducing labor?
- Will you use external or internal electronic fetal monitoring?
- Do you want to use an IV or a catheter?
Preferences for Newborn Care
You may have specific instructions for how to care for your baby once you have given birth. Share your thoughts and expectations on how you and your newborn want to be cared for during your recovery.
- Do you want someone specific to suction the mucus from your newborn?
- Do you want to breastfeed?
- Do you want to use a lactation consultant?
- Any specific instructions regarding the placenta?
- Do you want to designate someone to cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you want to hold the baby directly after birth?
Review Your Birth Plan with Your Doctor
Creating your birth plan is a great accomplishment for the preparation of the birth of your child. Once completed, be sure to review it with whoever will be with you in the delivery room and, especially, the physician who will be delivering your baby and coaching you through the pregnancy. Together, you can walk through every aspect of your birth plan and adjust as necessary.
If you are expecting or want to review your birth plan with an OB-GYN, Christopher Quinsey, MD, has delivered over 3,600 newborns over the past 20 years in Central Florida.
*This blog is for general informational purposes only. Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A. does not distribute medical advice through this blog. As such, this blog does not constitute a patient-client relationship between the reader and Christopher K. Quinsey MD, P.A.