Every pregnant woman or couple gives thought to the day of their delivery. They envision what they will experience, how they will feel, and the choices they will make. Creating a Birth Plan is a perfect way to communicate those images to those caring for you.
When developing a Birth Plan, it’s important to take the time and determine your own preferences. Give yourself the opportunity to walk through the various aspects of labor and decide what choices are right for you. This is also a wonderful opening to discuss your options with your physician. Your doctor can help you to better understand the process and what you can normally expect.
The majority of physicians are extremely conscientious about discussing the progress of your care and issues affecting your labor prior to any action being taken. However, some patients feel the need to express this directly in their birthing plan. You may want to list those people you want present during your labor and delivery. This allows both you and your physician to come to terms with their common practice and your wishes before you’re in labor. What will your environment look like? Do you want low lighting, soft music, or pictures of your family available to view?
What thoughts have you given to pain management? This is one of the most significant discussions to have with your physician and the nursing staff caring for you. Are their specific positions or items you would like to use during labor such as a birthing ball, using a squatting bar, or not using stirrups, unless medically indicated? Who’s going to cut the umbilical cord? Where would you like your baby placed after delivery? These are only a few of the hundreds of possible questions you could address during your birthing process.
The most important factor; however, is to not approach your plan as needing to provide every detail to those caring for you, but as a generalized road map to your preferences. As much as we would all love to plan out our labor, the reality is that your baby and your body may have different ideas. People set themselves up for failure if the events are not happening as planned. This is the biggest disservice you can give to yourself and your family. Enjoy the miracle of what is occurring, be open to suggestions given because of changing issues or events, and don’t demand of yourself to stick to a plan that takes away the joy of this special occasion.