Childbirth is a time-stopping, momentous journey with no one experience the same. Each childbirth and baby’s story are as unique and as beautiful as they are. As thrilling as the experience is, some mothers take comfort in knowing their options and creating a birthing plan before going into labor. SleepOvation Baby is here to further your understanding of birthing plans and the benefits they provide.
What is a birthing plan?
It is a document that the mother (and support person) creates before going into labor. It provides preferences for all aspects of labor and delivery. The birthing plan goes beyond labor and delivery, giving information on your wants for yourself and the baby after birth such as breastfeeding and delayed umbilical clamping. A birthing plan is helpful for a variety of reasons because it gives doctors and nurses:
- A better understanding of your ideal labor and delivery (epidural, Tylenol, vaginal, cesarean).
- Additional information on how you would like for your birth to go (lights on or off, music, standing/walking instead of laying, etc.).
- Allows for you to focus more on your laboring.
- Essential information included (how many deliveries have you had, any medical conditions, allergies, etc.).
- Gives information on after birth care for your baby (Skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, delayed bath, etc.).
- Preference on how you would like your postnatal care to go.
- A fast, easy way to communicate with your staff regarding all preferences.
- In case your doctor isn’t there or you give birth in a different hospital than you originally intended to; you have all your information ready.
Benefits of a birthing plan
Keeping your birthing plan in your hospital bag will ensure that your hospital will have it when the time comes! It is a quick and easy way to share all your important information with the staff, all your relevant medical history, and any special requests you would like for your staff to be aware of.
Birthing plans have additional information included that may not generally be asked during labor and delivery such as if you would like the lights on or off while laboring, or if you would prefer music. It is unique to yourself and your support person. You can take comfort in knowing that your wishes will be met.
Having a birthing plan will help everyone communicate better and know how you would like your labor and delivery to go. It should be a wonderful experience, where you can focus on bringing your baby into a calm, peaceful environment. This precious time should be focused on yourself and your little bundle of joy, instead of relaying information. It will reduce the number of questions asked, your doctor and nurses will still ask you questions as different situations arise or to ensure that you have not changed your mind since creating the birthing plan.
What is included in your birthing plan document?
Your birthing plan will include an array of information from what type of birth you would like, to medications, and care for your baby after birth. Typically, you will include:
- Your information: Your name, your OB’s name and contact information, where you are planning on giving birth, and your support person(s) name.
- Labor preferences: Would you like to use a ball, chair, or bed? Would you prefer to walk around? Be able to labor in a shower or bath?
- Environmental: Consider what makes you feel most comfortable. Music playing? Lights on or off?
- Pain management: To have an epidural? To have IV pain medication such as Demerol or morphine? Breathing techniques? Visionary techniques? A massage?
- Position during labor: Most common positions are on your back with feet in stirrups (your support person can hold your leg and assist you during delivery). Laying on your side, squatting, or standing are other options.
- Type of birth: Vaginal or Cesarean. Would you like your partner to assist with the delivery if the doctor feels it is a safe environment to do so? Would you like to have a mirror to watch your baby be born?
- After birth care: Do you want delayed umbilical cord clamping? Do you or your support person want to cut the umbilical cord when it is time? Delayed bathing? Skin to skin, kangaroo care (having your baby in the bassinet in your room with you for your entire hospital stay), the golden hour (nursing your baby for the first hour of their life, before being weighed or measured), etc.
It is important to note that these preferences are important to you and your staff will do their best to make your birthing experience the way you would like. There is always a chance that it does not go the way you envisioned it due to medical reasons. The main focus is healthy labor and delivery for you and your beautiful baby.