Writing a Birth Plan

Posted by Jennifer on April 10, 2011 – 7:27 pm

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photo adapted from jessica.diamond

There is a ton of information online about birth plans; there are even sites where you can customize your birth plan online. There are samples of birth plans that are vague and then there are others that are planned and written out to the last minute detail. There are also forums that debate the wisdom of designing a birth plan and whether or not you are just setting yourself up for failure and disappointment by creating one. I’m a fan of a birth plan. Like everything, I think it’s all about balance.

You wouldn’t embark on a journey or begin a large project without having given it some thought and planning. I feel that the same is true of labor. You have expectations, hopes and plans for your labor already in your head, whether or not you’ve written them down. Writing them down may help you decide how important certain aspects are to you and also to evaluate whether or not they are realistic. This could, in fact, leave you feeling more pleased with your labor than had you not written them down.

With Chloe, I wrote an extremely detailed birth plan and with John it was a much less structured plan. Both times, I reviewed it with DH and my midwives. Though we never did refer to it during labor itself, they knew what I was hoping for. {Once you hit that active phase of labor – you aren’t necessarily thinking straight. You are concentrating on what your body needs to do to birth this baby. This is why it is handy to have discussed your wishes with your doctor/midwife/husband etc. in advance. You may not remember during labor. It’s also the reason I suggest having a last minute additions list for your hospital bag and other important information written down!} The important thing to remember when thinking about labor {whether or not you write a birth plan}, is that labor and babies are unpredictable. You will have the best experience you can, in whatever circumstances, if you are flexible and willing to embrace things as they come.

Isaac’s Birth Plan

My birth plan for Isaac is extremely loose and simple this time around. I’m working with the same midwife community and the same husband so I think they know what I’m hoping for!

I would like to have a home birth. {However, if something comes up that leads the midwives to believe this would not be a good choice for me, or during labor the midwives have concerns and recommend a transfer to the hospital, I will embrace that whole-heartedly. Above all, safety is the primary concern.}

I would like to be allowed to go into labor when my body is ready and not be induced. {Though if there is valid concern aside from being “late”, then of course I defer to my midwifes’ recommendations}

I would like as little intervention as possible, regardless of where I give birth. I would also like to avoid medications, if at all possible. I also reserve the right to change my mind about the medications, if I feel that I need to. {Again, with medication and interventions, I embrace anything that is done in the name of safety and with a valid reason.}

My husband or I would like to catch the baby, depending on my position at the time of birth. {Daddy “caught’” Chloe and I “caught” John}

I would like to hold our baby and nurse as soon as possible after the birth.

That’s it. Pretty simple because this will be my third and I am now very familiar with what is truly important to me. It may look different for you. There are some things that may be very important to you; you’d like to labor in a specific way, avoid certain things, cut the cord yourself etc. These are the things you need to mention to your spouse as well as your caregiver. As detailed or simple as you want to make it, I think birth plans are a great tool!

Did you have an idea of what you wanted to happen during labor? Did you make a birth plan ?

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  1. 1. Rachel Said:

    That sounds like my birth plan, minus the birthing at home part. Also, i’m Strep B positive and have to have antibiotics…but they say I can be detached from the IV after my dose is in. So hopefully it won’t be too bad!

  2. 2. Jennifer Said:

    Oh, I’m glad you can be detached. Home / hospital / wherever – I think freedom to move around is the thing that helps most during labor. It helps you cope and deal with the pain but your moving, rocking etc. helps baby move down on his merry way 🙂

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