Should I write a Birth Plan?
Many women want to write out a birth plan to clarify the care they hope to receive while they are in labor. A birth plan can be a short wish list or a long explanation of your circumstance, such as if you are adopting the child out or if there are known anomalies incompatible with life.
Is a Birth Plan required? No. The nurses, midwives, and physicians are highly trained professionals who will take care of you to the best of their abilities. We have not performed routine shaves, enemas, or episiotomies for over 25 years, so you do not need to request that we refrain from these procedures. We have many tools in our bag of tricks to help your labor progress well and hopefully avoid complications.
In addition, every woman and every labor is different. It is a good idea for you to relax, let go, and accept the labor that comes to you. There really is no other choice but to deal with the reality of the moment. Your care providers will help you. Honest. That’s what we have chosen to do for our career. We want the best outcome for you and your family.
I do recommend that my mammas write up a short, one-page wish list that gives the labor team a frame of reference of what experience you are hoping for in labor and delivery. It is a good idea to designate one person to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself due to an intense labor. It tells us if you have specific requests, such as dad cutting the umbilical cord or your desire to avoid an epidural or even GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL THE MOMENT I WALK IN THE DOOR!
Bring your birth plan to one of your prenatal visits to discuss with your midwife or physician. Then when you have a final draft, bring a printed copy for the nurse caring for you in labor and delivery. That way, your entire team is on board with the plan and works with you! Remember to keep it short and flexible.
Some ideas of what women specify in a birth plan:
- Who will be present for the birth?
- Are you bringing a doula?
- Will there be siblings present?
- Do you want mobility or do you want to stay in bed?
- What activities or positions do you plan to use (walking, birthing ball, standing, tub, squatting, etc)?
- What is your plan for pain relief (massage, hot packs, position changes, hypnobirthing, Lamaze breathing, jacousi tub, medication)?
- How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
- Who will care for the baby?
- What is your plan to feed your baby?
- Do you want to wear your own clothing and listen to music?
You can always google “birth plans” on the internet for more ideas, remembering to keep your wish list to one page!
-Kirstin Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwife