I love birth plans. They are important and they are great for so many reasons. However, the reason I love them is not because I believe nurses won’t have any idea what you need or that Doctors may accidentally forget to give you and your baby skin to skin. I think the most important part about having a birth plan is forcing you and your partner into the research and information needed to start making decisions about you and your family. It is a great way to look at all the options, ask questions, talk to your Doctor and your doula and learn about what may be standard and what things can be done differently if you choose. It’s not a list of demands, it is an organized list of preferences and most of the time, those requests are for you. Those are things you need to think about and get a clear understanding on before you enter labor and delivery.
Do you know if your hospital does continuous monitoring as a standard procedure?
Do you know if you will have a routine IV no matter what?
Do you know if you want vaccines or eye drops or vitamin K?
Did you even know all of these things were things you needed to think about?
Do you know if it is standard practice for your doctor to do an episiotomy?
That is the beauty of a birth plan…it opens up the “oh, I had no idea” conversation. I love a short and simple birth plan. Something with the highlight reel. Not something that gives a play by play to every second you are in the hospital. If you took the time to choose a doctor you trust, a doula you love, a hospital you trust…most of the things in your birth plan can be eliminated!
I work often with a close friend and fellow doula and we both had to laugh when our last co-doula client just exclaimed, I don’t have a birth plan. I tried that last time and it was 5 pages long and I ended up with an emergency c-section. My birth plan this time around would just say one thing and I would want it taped to every wall in my room “MAKE A BABY COME OUT OF MY VAGINA.” It was amazing and I actually wish she would print that out so I could put it on every wall of the room! Can you imagine the hyper focus you would have on that one goal if that is the ONLY thing you are requesting?
I am not saying don’t have a birth plan, or don’t bring a birth plan. They are amazing and I will put a great sample plan below. Just remember, when there is too much information, it all gets lost in the mix. Trust in your voice, your choices and the people you have surrounded yourself with.
Our Team: Hospital, Dr, Doula
We are prepared for a natural childbirth and would like to request the following:
- No pain medication unless requested
- Open communication and informed consent on all decisions
- Intermittent monitoring
- x and x remain together at all times
- Freedom of movement around room, into tub and shower at all times
- As few vaginal exams as possible and only by my provider
- Support from our doula
- Peaceful and positive environment and support
- Immediate skin to skin contact
- Baby stays with us at all times
- We request no bath for the baby in the hospital
- We would like to postpone all newborn procedures until we have had a chance to bond and would like all procedures to happen while baby is on mothers chest
- Yes/No eye drops or Hep B shot
- Vitamin K is OK/or not OK
These are our preferences in case of an uncomplicated labor and delivery. If a medical emergency or complication does arise, we trust in the decisions of our doctor and medical staff.