Wondering whether to prepare a birth plan? There are many supporters of this option. Find out what a birth plan is and decide if it is right for you.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a document in which you tell the pregnant woman how you want the birth to go. It usually contains information about what the pregnant woman agrees to and what she expects from the doctor and midwife. Preparing a birth plan is a great time to take a moment to reflect and better prepare for the birth. The birth plan should be consulted with your health care provider and midwife. But remember that a birth plan is, as the name suggests, just a plan. It can be modified during the birth if the situation requires it.
More and more hospitals make their own birth plans available on their websites. It is good that this is happening, that hospitals are noticing this need of pregnant women, but often the birth plans prepared by the hospital are severely truncated or contain biased or even rhetorical questions.
Read our article on how to avoid deficiencies in pregnancy
What to include in a birth plan?
It is a good idea to organize your birth plan according to the order of the stages of labor and maternity care. Every birth plan is different because it contains things that are important for the individual woman. It is a good idea to include everything that is important to you in your birth plan. It is better to include too many details than to leave something unsaid and regret it later.
Birth plan template
The Birth by Humanity Foundation gives you a list of points that you should include in your birth plan:
- under what conditions you want to give birth (type of room and facilities available there, ability to listen to your own music, ability to record the birth/ take pictures, etc.);
- who will accompany you during the birth;
- how you will prepare for the birth (e.g., consent to IV insertion, shaving, etc.);
- how you want the first period to look like (do you want to be able to use the bathtub/shower at this stage, do you want to be able to move freely and get into any position you want, etc.);
- what you want the second period of labor to look like (how you want to push, what position you want to give birth in, etc.);
- whether and how you want to alleviate the pain of childbirth (e.g. disagreement with pharmacological painkillers, etc.);
- whether you are willing to have a perineal incision;
- whether you allow induction of labor, if so, by what methods;
- the caesarean section (whether your companion is to be present during the caesarean section, whether the baby is to be placed in his or her arms immediately after birth, etc.);
- how the first stage after the birth should look like (e.g. whether the attendant should cut the umbilical cord, how the baby should be measured and weighed);
- how the third stage of labour is to look like (e.g. whether you want to try to deliver the placenta on your own, without any measures);
- how your stay in the maternity ward should look like (e.g. whether the baby should be with you all the time, whether you want to be instructed in changing and bathing the baby);
- how you will feed your baby (whether you plan to breastfeed, whether you need advice from a lactation consultant, etc.);
- how you feel about vaccinating your newborn;
- other important additional information (e.g. what blood group do you have, do you have any chronic diseases).
On the Internet there are many templates of birth plan in the form of PDF file. The Birth by Humanity Foundation also provides a convenient birthing plan wizard at this link.
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