Creating a Birth Plan
Giving birth is a momentous day for mom, dad, and many other loved ones. The day you give birth can be both incredibly special and incredibly overwhelming, but planning ahead and expecting the unexpected can help prepare you and your little one. There are a multitude of things to consider before the day you give birth, and creating a birth plan can help bring some peace of mind knowing what to expect in a situation which you cannot fully control.
Note: It’s important to know that even if you have a birth plan, things can change, and your health and the health of your baby will ultimately be the number one priority of all healthcare providers and personnel involved in the birthing process. However, many hospitals will take into consideration the increasingly common practice of birth plans and are typically able to accomodate expecting parents in a variety of ways.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is simply a synopsis of how you would ideally want your birthing process to go. From the number of individuals in the room to your body’s position during delivery, your birth plan can include everything you want loved ones and doctors to know. Each individual is different, making birth plans unique to every patient. Considering expecting parents have different medical backgrounds, family situations, and personal preferences, no two birth plans have to look the same.
What to Include in Your Birth Plan
Because of the multitude of factors to consider, expecting parents may have a difficult time deciding how they want their birth plan to look. The day you give birth should be an exciting and memorable day. Take the following aspects of birth into consideration while creating your birth plan.
Your birth plan can be a formal document that you bring with you to the hospital or it can simply be a general idea of what you envision for the big day, but regardless of whether or not you choose to create a physical birth plan, it’s helpful to have the following information nearby during labor and delivery. This includes:
- Contact information
- Emergency contact
- Doctor’s information
- Birth location (hospital, home, etc.)
With options galore for the setting of your birth, it’s incredibly important to plan ahead and let your loved ones know where you want to give birth to your child. Though a hospital birth is extremely popular, more and more women are choosing to give birth in their homes. However, this scenario isn’t always planned. As we mentioned, it’s important to expect the unexpected. Though you may plan for time to travel to the hospital, your situation may not always be suitable for this. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place.
Environment on the Day of Delivery
It’s important to plan ahead for the environment of your preference on the day you give birth. Whether you are looking for a calm and quiet atmosphere at home surrounded by loved ones or you prefer to give birth in a hospital with convenient access to healthcare providers, your birth plan can highlight that for you. While you can’t control every aspect of your environment on your delivery day, nor should you try to, it’s okay to have an idea of what you want the birth room to look like in regards to:
- Number of individuals in the room
- Dim or bright lighting
- Amount of background noise
Medication or Epidural
The type and amount of pain medication you do or do not receive is one aspect of giving birth that every future mother needs to plan for. Though some may plan to have an all-natural birth without pain medication, others may opt for an epidural. Before making any decisions regarding pain medication, talk to your doctor and be aware of all the details that go into the use of pain medication during birth. For those looking into a natural birth, a few natural remedies for pain during labor are:
- Staying active
- Warm water
- Essential oils
- Heating pads
Photographer or Videographer
Some parents may choose to have a photographer or videographer in the room before, during, and after labor to capture this momentous moment, and it’s understandable why. A photographer or videographer can help preserve this special occasion for you and others to enjoy. If you plan to have a photographer or videographer in the room during delivery or before or after giving birth, let your doctor and birthing team know in advance.
While many mothers may create a plan for labor and delivery, they may overlook post-labor recovery. However, post labor includes many things to consider, including:
- Who cuts the umbilical cord
- Breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
Things to Remember
Birth plans can ultimately make the day you give birth easier for you, your family, and your doctors and birthing team. Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
Expect the Unexpected
Like any other significant event in life, everything may not go exactly as planned. A birth plan will give insight into how you want the process to look, but it’s important to have a backup plan and to know that ultimately, labor is something that cannot always be completely controlled. Unexpected circumstances can arise, and one minor change could lead to a completely different day of birth than you expected.
Review & Update
When creating a birth plan, discuss options with your significant other, your doctor, your child’s pediatrician, and others who are involved in the process. Reviewing your birth plan with your spouse will allow them to get on board with how the day is going to look. It’s incredibly important to include your doctor alongside your birth plan, because they are able to give you recommendations on what to expect.
Make it Personal
Your birth plan can also include information on your medical history, your fears and anxieties, your delivery history, and other information that may help doctors and nurses know how to serve you best.
Creating a Birth Plan with Your Pediatrics East Provider
Here at Pediatrics East, we love to provide our patients with the best information and care they need to keep their little ones safe and healthy. For more information about our doctors and services provided, contact us today. To talk to one of our doctors about creating your own birth plan, schedule an appointment with us.
Note: This article was reviewed by Dr. Lelon Edwards of Pediatrics East and other providers at Pediatrics East. Our team of providers works from various locations throughout the Memphis area, including: