My Birth Plan for Labour and Delivery
I’m hoping that writing this will actually force me into finally writing out my birth plan, because that’s one of the few things I’ve been putting off (along with packing my hospital bag… but that’s another post for another day). I have about 5 weeks left and it’s ending fast.
For those who don’t know what a birth plan is, it’s a plan that you can either have in mind or actually write out on how you want your labour and delivery to go. For example, whether you want any kinds of medication or not would be on there. You can write a birth plan for any kind of birth, whether that be natural and unmedicated, natural and medicated, or a cesarean birth.
I’m choosing to write one with a few things on it because there are some things I really don’t want to sway on when it comes to the delivery – provided there are no emergencies of course. A lot of the things I wanted to put on it, the hospital I’m going to already has in place anyway, so that makes things a lot easier for me. Make sure you ask your hospital and your doctor or obstetrician what they put in practice during labour and delivery.
When I first started thinking about writing a birth plan, I started getting a little nervous. I don’t have a lot of friends who have gone through labour and delivery, and none who have done it the way I plan to – naturally and unmedicated. So, a lot of what I have to go off of is what my mom has told me.
This has been incredibly helpful, because she also had all three of us naturally (at home!). The thing is, hospitals were a lot different when she was having babies, and today they are so much better at really making sure everything goes the way you want it to. I didn’t realize that until we went on our hospital tour.
My husband and I went on a private hospital tour of the hospital I will be delivering at and it put my mind so much at ease. Originally, I wanted to have a midwife and maybe go to a birthing center instead of the hospital, because again, I didn’t realize how much hospitals have really become more conducive to natural births. I always associated hospitals with cesareans or things going wrong.
My area also does not offer midwife services or home birth options. There are only three hospitals in all of Nova Scotia that have midwives and those programs are hard to get into. It was easier to go with my obstetrician at the local hospital. I have no regrets! I love my OB and the hospital I am delivering at.
If you’re having a baby at a hospital, no matter how you plan on delivering him or her, I highly recommend you take a hospital tour if it’s available. Even just seeing the place you will be when you deliver and being a little familiar with it could make a difference in how your delivery goes.
Plus, I now know what my hospital has to offer for me during labour. I know they have birthing balls, showers, a tub, and beds that move up and down for leaning on, as well as other resources. These are all things I plan on possibly using.
Taking a prenatal class also helped. The prenatal class my husband and I have been taking has opened my eyes to the options I have, as well as to the policies in place to make my labour and delivery go smoothly. The most important thing for me is not necessarily that things go how I want them to, because let’s be honest, they probably won’t go exactly as planned.
The most important thing to me is that I have a choice and that I am well informed on anything and everything that will and could go on.
So, onto my birth plan.
I really had no clue how to write one but I use the Bump app and found out they actually have a really good template for one. That’s what I used to follow here. They have a huge list of things you can add, but I just modified mine to be small and simple, because like I said, a lot of the policies that are already in place at my hospital were things I was going to put on my birth plan anyway.
Also, it’s important to always remember things may not go exactly according to plan and that’s okay!
MY BIRTH PLAN
Name: Thandi Nagel
Partner/Support Person’s Name: (Your partner and/or support person)
- Put what you want here, I haven’t fully decided the extent of visitors, but I know I just want hubby and I for actual delivery
- None if possible
- I will be using natural pain relief techniques
In case of c-section/interventions
- As little interventions given as possible
- I’d like all other options exhausted first (if possible) before medications or other interventions are offered
In case of need of labour augmentation
- I’d like to try other natural options before medical options (I have a list of these)
- I’d like baby’s exams/shots, etc given during skin to skin (when possible)
- He will be breastfed
- Delayed cord clamping
I was also going to put no episiotomy (if possible) but my particular hospital, and I think a lot of obstetricians and hospitals, are realizing that tearing naturally is usually a safer and easier recovery for the mom. Sometimes it’s still necessary, but most hospitals don’t use it as a practice anymore (at least here in Canada).
Delayed cord clamping is also a practice at my hospital anyway, but I put it on there because it’s so important to me (if you don’t know what it is, look it up! There’s even an OB trying to start doing this for cesarean births too, at this hospital). I would have added other things like immediate skin to skin after birth, but that was another thing that is hospital policy already which I was super happy about.
You may also want to add anything you think the OB (who at my hospital may not be the OB I have been seeing for my pregnancy) or prenatal nurses need to know about you and your pregnancy. For example, allergies to any medications, or how your pregnancy or delivery may be unique from others.
I also have a list of pain management techniques to help me get through active labour. A lot of it is going to be trial and error, as well as switching things up from time to time to keep labour going.
I didn’t think it necessary to add things like diming the lights or music, because these are things I can just do, I don’t really need to let the nurses know. I know they will also ask about using monitoring right when I get there to see where I am in terms of contractions. I also didn’t add how I plan to deliver (what position) because I don’t really know what’s going to come naturally, and I know my OB and my hospital will let me do whatever I find comfortable!
This is my birth plan. Super short and simple. Nurses have other things to do that don’t include reading through a book of a birth plan, so as long as you have the important things down (the things that really matter to you) that’s all you need.
When in doubt about what to add, ask your obstetrician, physician, anyone at your hospital’s labour and delivery unit, or whoever will be assisting in your delivery. Asking questions is how you find out your options!
Taking a prenatal parenting class also helped me decide on some things I could add or didn’t really need to add, as it was run by a doula who knew some of the hospital’s policies as well.
You can also ask your friends and family, if you have any that have given birth, about what they added or didn’t add!
Your options are really endless these days, provided there are no complications. Even with some complications, there are still ways you can have control over your own delivery experience. That is what is most important to me – knowing that even if things don’t go as planned, I have control over what happens. It’s always good to be informed!
Make sure you share this post to help you when it comes time to write your birth plan!