A Quick Guide to Writing a Birth Plan
Here are the 5 things you should include while writing your birth plan!
I am not a medical professional - my opinions shared below are based on personal experience and should not be used to diagnose/self treat or be interpreted as medical advise. I always recommend speaking with your medical professionals/Midwife/Doula before making decisions on your Birth Plan.
The term Birth Plan is used frequently around natural births. It is a term I think most women avoid because what if...
What if it doesn't happen the way I want it to? What if something goes wrong? What if I get the epidural? What if someone saw it and disagreed? Or worse, your doctor ignored it.
Even though birth plans can't always be followed, I think it is important to create one because it allows you to think about what you would like to happen. It allows you to begin processing the whole concept of pushing a baby out of your vagina or the process of healing after a c-section. It allows you to start to mentally prepare for the process of bringing new life into this world, no matter which way you plan or hope to do it.
At the end, every mom's goal is a healthy babe and a healthy mom. No matter how we get there, we all want the end goal to be the same. But for some the how is important. I want your voice to be heard. I want you to be prepared. So I am going to share how I created a Birth Plan, and what I would have adjusted if or when I do it again.
When I started planning, I turned to Google, Pinterest and Etsy. I found several buy and fill in printables online. They had cute baby themes boarders, soft pastel colors and preconceived notions of what I might want in a birth plan. Honestly, it was overwhelming and intimidating.
Some plans went over things I had not thought about: How long I wanted to push before opting for a C-Section? If I wanted stitches after tearing or did I want to heal naturally? Would I be open to nurses feeding my child formula if I was unable to breastfeed? Would I be okay with my child being moved to another room if an emergency arose with me? Who's life was more important if they had to choose. It was too overwhelming to look at all the options, so I opened a blank word document and started writing. Here are 5 things you need to include in your birth plan:
Your Information - I included my first and last name, my blood type, my OB's name, my husband's name and number and that I was not allergic to medication. It is important to put your information on the top so that your OB and nurses have any information that may impact your delivery. I even included that I have a major phobia to needles. I also wanted my nurses to have my husband's information easily accessible.
Your Baby's Information - I included Addie's full name, her due date and information about the pregnancy. Again, this is a quick reference for my doctors and nurses.
What Your Hopes Are For Birth - Here is the big portion. I included that I wanted a natural birth - I requested that pain medications would not be offered during labor. I requested that Addie and I have immediate skin to skin contact. I requested delayed cord clamping and minimally invasive medical procedures.
Medical Interventions Allowed - That if my birth plan could not be followed, for medical reasons, that the doctors had my written consent to do what was necessary to save Addie and myself. - While you sign a form upon admission to the hospital, I also wanted to be explicit that my birth plan was my hopes and that my end goal was a healthy babe and healthy mom. I wanted to let them know that I was open to being flexible if it was needed.
A Sincere Thank you - I knew that labor could last hours or even days. I knew that these nurses would be in for the long haul as I brought Addie into the world. I wanted to thank them ahead of time for their assistance and encouragement.
While my birth plan wasn't followed exactly, I did get most of what I had hoped I would. I was induced due to health issues, which was my biggest fear following the dreaded word epidural. And at first, I was really disappointment that my Birth Plan wasn't followed to a T. But then I realized that both Addie and I were healthy and that was all that mattered. Looking back, I would have removed half of what I wrote and just stuck with my main hopes. My Birth Plan consisted of a lot of redundant statements - I wanted skin to skin as soon as possible. I did not want Addie to be placed in a bed after I gave birth. That sort of thing. I wish I had stuck to these are my hopes instead of making a massive list of what I did not want.
I want to encourage you to create a birth plan - no matter what your hopes or expectations are for giving birth, it is important for you to take some time to think about what those hopes and expectations are. It is important to vocalize them to your doctor and nurses. Whether you are doing a home birth, a hospital birth, a scheduled c-section, or get all the drugs so you don't feel a thing - I encourage you to write down what you hope will happen.
Looking back, I realized my doctors and nurses honored everything they were able to despite the medical need to induce. I am so incredibly thankful for that!
Did you create a Birth Plan for your deliveries? What would you change about them? Do you want to hear my Birth Story? Subscribe below to be the first to read how I handled a natural birth after being induced! And see the never before seeing Hospital Photos.