So a (big) while back, I mentioned that I had started working on my birth plan. With my approximate due date about 5 weeks away now, I figured I’d come back to it and blog about it.
I had linked to a great blog post that really did an awesome job at explaining how to make the best birth plan. I read through it all and all of the links and had lots of fun building my own.
In a nutshell, a birth plan should be:
- Personalized: Definitely look at samples, but don’t just use a checklist type plan. You want to know your birth plan inside out. There are so many different formats that can be used, use one that reflects you the best.
- Realistic: Two thoughts on this point. a) For instance, if you know that your hospital doesn’t do water births (like mine), don’t ask for one even if it is something that you would enjoy trying. b) Keep in mind that even though no one wants anything to go wrong things can go wrong. Keep an open mind to the options that will or won’t be available to you if such is the case.
- Researched: Know what your options are and how each choice you make may effect you and your baby.
- Short: Let’s face it, nurses and doctors just don’t have the time to read pages and pages of text or check marked statements. Keep it down to a page or two at the most.
When I was pregnant with Charles, I had thought of doing a birth plan. Actually, I had filled out a couple of blank ones with statements that you just checked. After printing them out, though, I remember deciding to trash them because I had felt that I didn’t know enough about birth to be deciding upon things I knew nothing (or next to nothing) about. I figured I’d go with the flow and see what happened.
Now that I’ve gone through one birth, I have a better idea of the things that can go down. I have a better idea of what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I don’t really care about one way or another. I also did quite a bit of research since giving birth to Charles. I therefore felt more comfortable with writing a birth plan. Now, don’t get me wrong, I totally understand that birth is unpredictable and I’m very much aware that just because it is planned and written, doesn’t mean it’s going to all go my way, but at least I know that if I do have control over some aspects, I will know exactly what I want.
Now, enough blabbing, how ’bout I share the plan I wrote up with you guys. (P.s. The actual birth plan is in table form and fits on one page. I’ll be adding a pdf link at the end in case anyone wants to see the actual version that I will be bringing with me to the hospital).
Will be present: (baby’s father)
Students and residents: I am open to their presence during labour and delivery
*The preferences expressed in this birth plan are the result of much research and thought. They reflect my wish to have a natural, med-free birth with minimal interventions. However, I do understand that labour and birth are unpredictable and want above all else the safety of both myself and the baby if an emergency situation arises. In the case of a non-emergency situation, please discuss any procedures (benefits and risks) with my partner and I so that I can give my informed consent after discussing them with my partner.*
We thank you in advance for your support in helping us achieve the natural birth we are aiming for.
1. Labour preferences
- Hydration: through water/ice chips/popsicles rather than through an IV
- Vaginal exam: upon arrival and subsequent checks no more than every two hours afterwards
- Foetal monitoring: 20 minutes of external monitoring upon arrival and no more than 5 minutes every hour afterwards
- Pain management: massage, mobility, birth ball, shower/tub, breathing techniques. Please do not offer any medicated options. If I change my mind, I will ask which options are available to me in relation to the progression of my labour.
- Pitocin: use to be discussed only after 8 hours of natural labour
- Amniotic sac: please allow my waters to break naturally
2. Delivery preferences
- Pushing: please allow me to push when I feel the urge to and in the way I feel I need to. If I need guidance, I will ask for it.
- Positions: I plan to alternate between a squatting, all-fours and kneeling up position during the pushing stage. If under the effect of an epidural, I will privilege a side-lying or semi-sitting position.
- Preservation of the perennial area: I prefer tearing to an episiotomy.
- Cutting of the cord: to be performed by the father after the cord has stopped pulsating.
- Announcement of the sex: by the father.
- Immediately following birth: I would like to have skin-to-skin contact with my baby and attempt breastfeeding on both sides.
3. Postpartum preferences
- Delay of regular procedures (eye drops, vitamin K shot, weighing…): until we have attempted nursing from both sides or up to 60 minutes after birth.
- Nutrition: I plan on breastfeeding, please do not offer formula or pacifiers.
- Bathing: we would like to give our baby his/her first bath.
- Visitors: only my toddler who will be accompanied by his father.
4. In case of emergency caesarean section
- Consciousness: I prefer to remain conscious during the procedure.
- Presence of the father: at all times during the procedure.
- Announcement of the sex: by the father.
- Skin-to-skin contact with the baby immediately after birth to initiate the bonding period and begin breastfeeding.
- Suturing: please use double layer sutures to allow me to attempt a VBAC if desired for a subsequent birth.
Please sign to acknowledge that you have read and understood our wishes: ____________________________________
(My) sample birth plan (pdf version)
So there you go…
Have you ever written up a birth plan? How did it go? Do you plan on using one?