When having a baby, many people have different ideas for how they want things to go. Some people may want family members in the room to take pictures or video while others may choose complete privacy. While birth plans are not contracts set in stone between patient and doctor, they help give doctors guidance. Here is a guide to creating a birth plan. Having a plan will help give you peace of mind during one of the hardest moments of her life.
First, consider things you would like before birth. Keep in mind that hospitals have their own set of rules. For example, many do not allow certain people in the room or photos and videos to be taken. Make sure you are aware of the rules your hospital has. Consider what you would like the atmosphere to be like during labor. This is also time to consider what you want to eat or drink during labor or in or out of bed.
During labor and delivery
This is where you may need to be flexible in your plan. You may have certain ideas in mind, but emergencies can happen. Have your ideal plan in place for delivery but try to include a plan for emergencies as well. Having multiple plans may help you feel like you are not losing control of the situation. This is where you plan the type of birth you want and if you would like an epidural. This is where you also give your preferences for being induced. Most women prefer not to have a c-section, but emergencies may force your plans to change.
After the baby is born
This is the most exciting part of your birth plan. This is where you plan out the care for your baby and who will be cutting the umbilical cord. Some women want to hold their baby right away and others want the baby to be cleaned up and taken care of first. You also have the option of breastfeeding right after birth and if you want a lactation nurse. Keep in mind that many women are not able to breastfeed or choose not to, so be open to plans changing in this situation.
Birth plans help create peace of mind for expectant mothers. Following a guide to creating a birth plan and talking to your hospital will help. Hospital staff wants to make these as accommodating as they can for mothers. Things may not always go according to plan, but they will do what they can to make your experience positive. For tips on planning for the hospital, check out our article, “Things to Pack for the Hospital When Having a Baby.”