Your Birth Plan
After learning that I was pregnant and immediately selecting the most amazing doula in the world, my husband and I started discussing how we wanted our child’s birth experience and OUR labor and birth experience to be. (I say OUR because my husband was going to be in this with me every step of the way and even though I was growing this baby and was ultimately responsible for bringing said child into this world, my husband played an active role and would be given the consideration of being a part of the birth process. Mostly. On my terms of course.) Anyway, I quickly discovered that creating a birth plan is no small task, especially if you decide that you want a completely natural birth in a hospital setting. I scoured the internet and really could not find any good examples of birth plans that met our standards. I looked at LOTS of birth plans but there just weren’t any that jumped out and said “use me as a template.” I decided that I was on my own and after hours and hours of thought, I came up with one that I was beyond pleased with. I thought that I had every base covered. We shared our birth plan with our doula who immediately exploded into giggles. Crap. This wasn’t good. Actually, that was the PROBLEM. It was too good. Our beloved doula said that my birth plan was the most detailed she had EVER seen and that in all honesty the labor and delivery staff probably weren’t going to comprehend most of it. She asked me to scale it back to something more manageable. Uh huh. Sure. But I did and since several wonderful ladies I know are going to be first time and second time mamas this year, I thought that I would share our birth plan. Hopefully there are elements in it that can help you in creating your own. Keep in mind, your birth plan will look quite a bit different if you plan on a home birth or a birth in a birth center. You will need to account for emergency situations which warrant admission to a hospital. If you are planning on a drug assisted birth, you can still use my birth plan as a model, changing all of my DON’T COME NEAR ME WITH THAT IV statements to RAM THAT NEEDLE IN ME NOW. J Happy Birth Planning!
Jennifer – Hybrid Rasta Mama (and birth plan overachiever).
P.S. My ENTIRE birth plan, the one I put blood, sweat and tears into, went out the window the moment my daughter got stalled in a foot breach position. I was already past my “due date” and with very little notice I was the unlucky and very pissed off recipient of a cesarean section with rather severe recovery issues. I really had not allowed myself to believe that I may have to REALLY have a c-section and therefore, did a poor job of planning for it both in a birth plan and mentally and emotionally. I advise all you mamas-to-be to really give thought to what your birth plan will look like in the event that you HAVE to have a c-section, planned or emergency. I regret not being better prepared because it really did cause me a lot of pain (physical and mental) and the road to recovery was rather arduous. I also suggest that you create an after-birth-when-we-get-the-baby-home-and-I-am-in-pain-and-can’t-get-out-of-bed-much-and-my-husband-works-nights-and-sleeps-all-day-plan. Seriously though. If you have a c-section you need A LOT more help after the baby arrives than you think you will. For about 8 weeks. Really. Really, really.
Due Date: INSERT HERE
Patient of Dr./Midwife INSERT NAME HERE
Scheduled to deliver at HOSPITAL/CLINIC/BIRTH CENTER/HOME NAME
Doula is INSERT HERE
We desire a labor and delivery that is as free from medication and other medical interventions as possible. We strongly prefer a vaginal delivery instead of a cesarean. Please discuss any suggested interventions or procedures with all of us (me, husband, and doula) and obtain our verbal consent before initiating any such interventions or procedures.
§ I prefer to labor at home until it is either uncomfortable to do so, it is unsafe to do so, I am experiencing contractions at steady two to three minute intervals, or our Doula says that it is time to go to the hospital.
§ I prefer to avoid an enema and/or shaving of pubic hair.
§ FHR monitored by intermittent monitoring or telemetry; I do not want an internal monitor unless the baby has shown some sign of distress. If remote monitoring is not available, I would like monitoring for 20 minutes only, every hour to an hour and a half.
§ I would like to be free to walk around during labor.
§ I wish to be able to move around and change position at will throughout labor.
§ I would like to be able to get into the shower during labor.
§ I would like to be able to have fluids by mouth and light snacks throughout the first stage of labor.
§ I would like the environment to be kept as quiet as possible.
§ I would like the lights in the room to be kept low during my labor.
§ I would prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum and would like them done as gently as possible.
§ I do not want an IV unless there is an emergency. I do not want a Herapin lock for IV unless there are signs that I will need an IV further in the labor/birth process.
§ My husband and doula are to be present at all times. My mother and father are welcome to visit provided they do not distract me from labor progression.
§ I do not wish to have the amniotic membrane ruptured artificially unless signs of fetal distress require internal monitoring.
§ I would prefer to be allowed to try changing position and other natural methods (walking, nipple stimulation) before pitocin is administered. Pitocin is only to be administered with my consent and as a last resort. Pitocin is not to be administered simply because I am a “progressing slowly.”
§ I realize that many pain medications exist I’ll ask for them if I need them.
§ I plan on laboring and giving birth without the aid of an epidural or spinal block.
§ I would prefer not to have an episiotomy unless absolutely required for the baby’s safety.
§ I would appreciate guidance in when to push and when to stop pushing so the perineum can stretch.
§ I would prefer to tear naturally.
§ I would like a local anesthetic to repair a tear.
§ I would like to be allowed to choose the position in which I give birth, including squatting or whatever feels right at the time.
§ I would like my husband, my doula, and nurses to support me as necessary during the pushing stage.
§ I would like to try to deliver in a squatting position, using my husband or a squatting bar for support.
§ I do not want to begin pushing simply because I am 10 cm dilated. I would like to begin pushing when my body tells me it is time to do so. If my instincts are working in favor, then I would like to push without being told when. If my instincts are not so good, then please tell me when to push.
§ I would like to be free of time limits on pushing as long as there are no health risks and as long as I have the energy to continue.
§ I would appreciate having the room lights turned low for the actual delivery.
§ I would appreciate having the room as quiet as possible when the baby is born.
§ I do not wish to view the birth using a mirror.
§ I may or may not instinctually touch the baby’s head as it crowns.
§ If an assisted birth becomes medically necessary and in the best interest of the baby’s safety, I would prefer the use of suction over forceps. I do not wish suction to be used as a means to “speed things along.”
§ I would like to try vaginal delivery until I am too exhausted to continue or if the baby is in distress.
§ I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery. I would like immediate skin on skin contact before the baby is cleaned.
§ Unless absolutely necessary, I would like to avoid a Cesarean.
§ If a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process.
§ I would like my husband present at all times if the baby requires a Cesarean delivery.
§ I wish to have an epidural for anesthesia and prefer to be conscious.
§ I do not want the screen lowered during the procedure.
§ If the baby is not in distress, the baby should be given to myself or my husband immediately after birth.
§ I wish to have one hand free so I can touch the baby.
IMMEDIATELY AFTER DELIVERY
· I would like to have the baby placed on my stomach/chest immediately after delivery. I would like immediate skin on skin contact before the baby is cleaned.
· I would like to bond with the baby first and postpone newborn procedures for up to an hour.
· I would like to breastfeed the baby immediately after delivery.
· Please do not cut the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsating.
· It will be my husband’s decision whether he would like to cut the umbilical cord and he will decide at that time.
· I would like to hold the baby while I deliver the placenta and any tissue repairs are made.
· We will not be banking umbilical cord blood.
· I would like to have the baby evaluated and bathed in my presence.
· I plan to keep the baby near me following birth and would appreciate if the evaluation of the baby can be done with the baby on my abdomen, with both of us covered by a warm blanket, unless there is an unusual situation.
· If the baby must be taken from me to receive medical treatment, my husband or some other person I designate will accompany the baby at all times.
· I would prefer to hold the baby rather than have her placed under heat lamps.
· I do not want a routine injection of pitocin after the delivery to aid in expelling the placenta. I would like to try for natural delivery of the placenta. No pulling on the cord please, no mashing on my stomach, and no reaching in to pull the placenta out until it becomes medically necessary to do so.
· After the birth, I would prefer to be given a few moments of privacy to urinate on my own and do not wish to be catheterized.
· I would like a private room, if available.
· Unless required for health reasons, I do not wish to be separated from my baby.
· I would like to have the baby “room in” and be with me at all times.
· I prefer that pacifiers are not provided to the baby.
· I wish to leave the hospital 24 hours after giving birth so long as both mom and baby are healthy.
· I plan to breastfeed the baby and would like to begin nursing immediately after delivery.
· Unless medically necessary, I do not wish to have any bottles given to the baby (including formula, glucose water or plain water).
· I would like to feed the baby on demand instead of on a schedule.
· I would like to take still photographs during labor and the birth.
· If my husband or I do not understand what the doctors or nurses have told us or if there is a lot of hustle and bustle and confusion during an “emergency situation” I would like the hospital staff to please communicate directly with our Doula who can then help us understand what is happening.
· I would prefer that no students, interns, residents or non-essential personnel be present during my labor or the birth.
· I would like to liberty to bitch and moan about the whole process if I want to.