I’ve heard so many different opinions about how a birth plan can be a good thing or it can be a bad thing. For all women out there, birth expectations, experiences and realties are so wildly different from one another. Having a “plan” or “preferences” or even calling it “wishes” can help your nurses, doctor and even your birth partners get a better understanding of the birth you envisioned for yourself and baby. As we all know, things don’t always go as planned. Being open and flexible to changes will help you get through not only your baby’s birth-day, but life itself.
There are so many protocols and procedures that hospital staff are so accustom to. There’s a quote around the birthing community that goes: “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” This quote illustrates how important it is to do your research and know what options you have regarding labor, birth and newborn procedures. This is the exact reason why I chose to write a birth plan. It may not go all my way, but to have knowledge about my options will benefit not only me but my baby too.
Although achieving a natural empowering birth is not impossible within a hospital setting, it may be a bit more challenging since there is more poking, prodding and time limits for labor. After much research and consideration, I’ve learned that birth is not a medical emergency; it is a natural process in which our bodies are most capable of. There are so many natural birth advocates out there in the world whom which I’ve found inspiration and strength in. While fear is so apparent in our society especially surrounding birth, I’m really trying to keep it positive by not letting other people’s hospital experiences influence any part of what I envision for myself.
My birth preferences are those I whole heartedly believe will work for me because of the extensive research I have done about birth.
I have written out an expanded version of my birth plan which will be given to my labor partners so we can all be on the same page for the big day. And down below you’ll find the easy to read visible birth plan that will be given to my doctor and nurses, because lets face it, they do not want to reading a two page birth plan.
Notes To My Labor Partners:
First stage: Three phases
Early Labor Phase – Onset of labor until the cervix is dilated to 3cm
Active Labor Phase – Continues from 3 cm. until the cervix is dilated to 7 cm.
Transition Phase – Continues from 7 cm. until the cervix is fully dilated to 10 cm.
Laboring at home as long as possible:
- Rest as much as I can
- Take a bath, drink a glass of wine
- Pack the rest of hospital bags
- Bake cookies for nurses (if I feel like it)
- Birth ball
- Stay hydrated
- Coconut water
- Gatorade ice chips
- Reminders to empty bladder
- Heating pad/ crock pot with wash cloths
- Gravity/move around
- Relaxation/breathing techniques
Go to the hospital when:
- Contractions are 3-4 minutes apart lasting ~60 seconds and its been going on for about an hour at this rate. (I literally live three minutes away from the hospital)
- When I’m not smiling, laughing or joking around anymore.
- DO NOT GO TOO EARLY, listen to my body.
Arriving at Hospital: *Do not be threatened by hospital protocols* Ask questions about procedures… “Is this medically NECESSARY”
- Intermittent fetal monitoring
- Minimal vaginal examines
- Hep lock only- do not hook up to IV (birth partners remind me to stay hydrated)
- Freedom to move around, use shower, birth ball, any position that feels right.
Second Stage: Pushing
- It’s important to me to push instinctively. I do not want to be told how or when to push.
- Please wait for the umbilical cord to stop pulsating before it is clamped.
- Please allow my partner to cut the umbilical cord.
Third Stage: Delivery of Placenta
- I would prefer for the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, and/or controlled traction on the umbilical cord.
- I would like to delay routine pitocin after the placenta is born unless there are any signs of hemorrhaging.
- I would like to take home my placenta.
As long as my baby is healthy, I would like her to be placed immediately skin-to-skin on my abdomen with a warm blanket over it. Please delay all essential routine procedures on my baby until after the bonding and breastfeeding period.
- If baby has any problems, I would like my partner to be present with her at all times, if possible.
- I would like to delay the administration of eye drops until after breastfeeding and bonding has occurred.
- I would like to delay the administration of vitamin K until after breastfeeding and bonding unless medically necessary.
- Immunize the baby according to normal procedures.
- Please do not bathe my baby at all.
- My baby is to be exclusively breastfed.
- I would like to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible for further recommendations and guidance.
Here is the birth plan I will be presenting to my nurses: Simple, easy, straight to the point! Wether your want a natural birth, an epidural or if you scheduled a c-section, a visible birth plan will help everyone know what your preferences are for birth. I think it will be especially helpful for your birth partners so when the going gets tough and you can no longer speak up for what you want… they will be there to step in and be your voice.