It is hard to believe that a year ago, I was approaching the birth of our second son. I have been doing a lot of reflecting the last few weeks on a series of posts that I could write in honor of his birthday. 🙂 I have decided to spend a little time sharing what I feel to be some great resources for moms or moms-to-be of a little one. Stay tuned for more blog posts on titles/topics such as “Why I Chose a Doula” and “Why Chiropractic for My Child?”. As a celebration of my little guy’s first birthday, I am also planning to include a brief post on his party and how to plan on a tight budget. Stay tuned!
I am so excited to share a little tidbit with you today on why I chose a birth plan for not only my first child but for my second as well. You may ask, “What is a birth plan?” “Why would I need one?” “If I do need a birth plan, where on earth do I start?” “How do I write one?” I know that several of these questions crossed my mind. In effort to share what I learned, allow me to address each of these questions to the best of my ability. 🙂
1) What is a birth plan? A birth plan is basically a document in writing that lists your desires/wishes for both you and baby during the labor process, the birth, and post birth. It includes things such as how you desire your pain to be managed, how you want to labor, delayed cord cutting, what your wishes are in regards to vaccinations for your baby in the hospital, etc. It is a valuable document for your team of doctors, nurses, and/or midwives to have and to be made aware of (ideally prior to the time you are admitted to the hospital) as it clearly defines your wishes and desires for your ideal birth experience. Please remember that although you desire everything to go as planned, there are also situations where you may need to be flexible if the health of you or baby is at risk. 🙂
2) Why would I need a birth plan? As mentioned above, this document lists your desires and wishes for an ideal birth and post birth. It also gives your medical team an opportunity to be on the same page as they work with you. It is important to talk through your birth plan with your midwife or OB prior to the birth so that they fully understand what your document entails. Understand your rights as the mother and present your plan with confidence, but also be open to talking through any areas that may need to have some flexibility. Understand also that your midwife/OB may present some concerns or areas where he/she disagrees. To best prepare for your presentation of the birth plan, do your research. Know what you are able to ask for. If you can, speak with a doula (Stay tuned for my upcoming post on “Why I Chose a Doula”) or a friend who has found success with a birth plan. Look up sample birth plans that are available online. There are great resources! 🙂
3) How do I write a birth plan? Where do I start? As I thought about my birth plan, I found great support in looking through several birth plans that others had used. Using samples and research as my guide, I formulated a birth plan that I felt quite good about and was able to use for both of my boys’ births. I have decided to include my birth plan in this post for you. Feel free to use this as a sample/guide as you put your document together. 🙂
SAMPLE BIRTH PLAN
Birth Protocol Agreement For: Your Name Here
Location: Place where you will be giving birth
Certified Nurse Midwife: Name of your nurse/midwife
Name of Father and Mother: Your name here
Baby Due Date: Your baby’s due date
People Present at Birth: People you wish to have with you in the birthing room
We are pleased with our choice to work with the Certified Nurse Midwifery staff as well as the staff at Name of Your Medical Center. Throughout the pregnancy, we have received excellent care, and we are looking forward to working with you as we give birth naturally to our baby.
We feel that we have educated ourselves well during the pregnancy by attending the Bradley Method classes and have done our best to do everything we can to stay healthy and low risk. As a part of the preparation for a beautiful birthing experience, we have put together the following documents that discuss what we desire for labor, delivery, and postpartum. Since this is a very special event in our lives, we have put much thought and consideration to what we have listed in this document. We respectfully ask that you help us in achieving our birth goals.
Above all, we are looking forward to having a natural and peaceful birth experience. The following is very important to us regarding what we desire and what we would like to avoid:
• Please do not offer us any pain medication, drugs, epidural, or Pitocin at any time.
• Please help us to avoid any induction of labor at any time unless it is absolutely necessary. I would like to try non-medical techniques to help the process of labor start on its own (walking, teas, etc.). We feel very strongly that we would like my water to break on its own. If induction is necessary, please use a minimal dose.
• It is very important to us that I am allowed freedom of movement as is comfortable to me during the laboring process. Therefore, we would like to avoid IV’s. We also do not wish to be hooked up to any fetal heart monitors as these would restrict freedom of movement. As an alternative please only do occasional fetal heart monitoring as necessary (intermittent monitoring). If possible, we would like if you could use a fetoscope to monitor the heart rate and do occasional doptone checks when necessary.
• We strongly desire that vaginal exams are minimized.
• It is important to us that we are allowed privacy during the first stage labor. Please understand that we feel strongly about laboring in a way that seems natural to my body. We do not desire for me to labor on my back. Rather, it is important to us that I am allowed to use alternative methods to work through labor (tub, walking, squatting, sitting, various body positions that are comfortable to me, birth ball, music, etc.). I am looking forward to wearing my own clothing as long as possible during the labor process. My husband and I would like to have our own cooler of food available to us during the labor, delivery, and hospital stay that would contain items such as snack bars, dried fruit, an electrolyte drink, water.
• During second stage labor, it is important to us that we are allowed the freedom to give birth in a position that is comfortable for me, such as squatting or using a bed with a squat bar.
• Please help us to avoid an episiotomy.
• Please allow the placenta to deliver on its own.
• Please understand that we feel very strongly about having skin to skin contact with my newborn right away where I am allowed to start immediate breastfeeding.
In addition to our wishes that we have expressed above, we also have put together our wishes specifically dealing with the care of our baby. We respectfully ask that our informed decisions be honored.
• Please do not give our baby the Vitamin K1 vaccination, the Hepatitis B vaccination, the eye drops, and the sugar water at any time after birth as well as during our entire hospital stay. It is also important to us that no supplementary bottles with formula be given to our baby during our hospital stay.
• It is important to us that there be a delayed cutting/clamping of the umbilical cord until the cord stops pulsing unless there is an emergency where cutting the cord immediately would be necessary.
• Please understand that we feel strongly that the vernix skin not be removed from our baby’s body. Rather we would like this covering to be left to rub in for immune support.
• We are looking forward to and respectfully request that our baby remain in the room with us as much as possible. Please do all weighing, measuring, and any evaluations right in our room.
• If our baby is a boy, we feel strongly about waiting 8-9 days before the circumcision happens.
Please know that we will be flexible on all points listed in this entire Birth Protocol Agreement if an absolute emergency/complication arises. Although we feel confident that everything will go normally, we trust and respectfully ask that you inform us if any problems come up so that my husband, doula, and I can discuss the choices to be made and choose our new plan of action. We take our responsibility of being good parents very seriously and want to do what is best for our baby.
Thank you for your kind attention. We look forward to sharing this, one of life’s most miraculous events, with the very special people on your staff. Again, it is a privilege to be able to work with such a qualified and wonderful team of people.
What about you? Have you used a birth plan? Did you find it valuable? What would you recommend be included on this document?