8 Birth Plan Tips
Congratulations on your pregnancy! It's the most joyous time of your life, but baby you've got some planing to do. If creating a birth plan is at the top of your "to-do" list, here is a list of tips for making it easier on you and your team when it's "time".
1. Keep It Short
Handing a file folder full of instructions to you nursing staff will only frustrate them! They have already have certain procedures that must be followed, making it hard for them to be able to have time to sit, read and memorize the book you've written. Instead, limit your birth plan to one sheet, highlighting your most important wants/needs.
2. Know The Hospital
If you've decided to give birth in a hospital, get familiar with the way they do things. Do they allow moms to walk around? Do I have to have an IV at all times? Is there a birthing ball available? Can I wear my own clothes to labor in? can I eat while in labor, can baby lay skin to skin with me immediately after birth, what about delayed cord clamping? etc. Schedule a tour of the birthing center, ask questions and take notes. Also, talk with your doctor about your preferences to make sure you are both on the same page and adjust your plan accordingly.
3. Make Copies
Just one copy of your birth plan is sure to get lost in the shuffle. With nurses changing shifts things can get misplaced. Make at least three copies. One for your chart: Ask if your birth plan can be placed in your chart. One for your side table: Place a framed copy on your birth plan on your side table for easy reference for anyone in the room (it's a good idea to use a highlighter to mark things like your allergies and what you'd like once baby is out). One for hubby's pocket: Hubby may have to leave the room to sign something, talk to a doctor, etc. and with one in his pocket, it will make decision making a tad bit easier for him just in case he forgets.
4. Get Educated
You have a right to refuse inductions, medications given to you or your baby, to be with you baby at all times no matter what. Of course your should trust your doctor if you're unsure about something, but be as educated as possible. Read books on labor and delivery rights and feel good about making educated choices for you and your baby.
5. Talk It Over
Your husband will be your best support! it's best that he's helps you create the birth plan so that in the blink of an eye, he can be your voice if need be. When you're zoned out and can only focus on the baby coming, he'll be your eyes and ears. It's a special time for him too, and watching his dear wife in pain is not going to help him feel in control. So, talk about what coping techniques he can help you with. What areas he needs to apply counter pressure and how you may need a sip of water from all that heavy breathing. Whatever is on your plan, he needs to know.
6. Back It Up
Although we always pray for the best, sometimes things can go wrong. It's wise to have a backup plan....just in case. So, you only want hubby as your birthing coach? Well, what if hubby passes out from watching his baby "crown"? You're going to want a nurse to step in to help. Or if you want to give birth on your side, but it becomes very uncomfortable. You'll want to have other positions in mind to help you work through comfortably.
7. Add Some Icing
Some nurses and doctors hate seeing birth plans, so it helps ease their pain if you add some icing to it. Bring a special treat or gift for every nurse (and of course your doctor) on staff. It can be a fruit basket with a thank you note, or a basket of lollipops. Also include a special note at the end of your birth plan saying, "Thank you for helping me feel comfortable by helping us achieve our goals". It will give them a sense that you're not some commander telling them what to do, but instead that you're a mom that wants a pleasant experience.
8. Be Flexible
Weather you like it or not, you may break the rules of your own plan "many" times. Sometimes, the plan may have to be broken due to unforeseen emergencies. A birth plan should not be an immovable stone. It should be a guide of how you prefer things to go. If things stray far from your plan, don't be discouraged. God has the ultimate plan for us and sometimes we get in the way.
Try this birth plan by The Bump. All you have to do it add your information and print!