I didn’t give it another thought until recently when my husband and talked about some of our desires for baby after delivery. For example, I want to hold my baby immediately, not have him whisked away to the nursery, or that we do not want him circumcised and want to be informed of his entire after birth check-up and want to have a say about his vaccinations. These questions and options are covered in a birth plan.
I do want to mention that after research on experiences with birth plans, they can set you up for disappointment. Delivery day can be very unpredictable, so having a tight plan you expect everyone to adhere to may not be realistic. One of the testimonials I read by a new mom said she was so caught up in her dream plan that when it fell apart and she was forced to have a C-section she was so devastated it took her a while to bask in the glory of her daughter being born. That testimonial is the exact reason I read that doctors are really not huge fans of these fully laid out plans. So if you choose to use one please keep these factors in mind.
I personally decided to download the birth plan** for three reasons: 1. to open a complete delivery and aftercare dialog with my doctor, 2. to inform myself of the multitude of things that happen on the big day, regardless of natural delivery or C-section, 3. to outline the aftercare so the nurses will fully understand my expectations. What I am not using it for is a strict guideline for my delivery. I by no means expect a perfect delivery experience and am keeping my eye on the prize, my son’s health. We all know I didn’t want a C-section, but I have come to realize it doesn’t matter how he gets here, all that matters is that he does. Safely!
Bottom line: I think downloading and reviewing the plan can be very informative for a first time mom, and help create an open structured dialog with your doctor about the big day.
- Do you want to be offered pain relief? If so, do you prefer IV medication (given only in the early stage of labor) or an epidural (which can hinder the ability to push)?
- Do you prefer to sit upright in bed or squat during the pushing stage?
- Do you want to be mobile during labor? If you opt for continuous electronic fetal monitoring, for example, you may have to stay in bed.
- Whom do you want present during labor?
- What's your ideal birthing environment? Do you want the lights dimmed? Music playing? A bathtub, if available?
- Do you want to avoid an episiotomy (an incision beneath the vaginal opening)? If so, massage and delivering in an upright position may help.
- Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord
- Do you want to hold the baby immediately?
- Will you be breast-feeding?
- Do you want the baby to stay in your room with you or go to the nursery?
- If you have a boy, do you want him to be circumcised?