Once a couple or mother has created a vision for her birth experience she can invite those close to her to experience and encourage her along the journey. Sharing it with an OB or Midwife and their doula, making sure their friends or family know what they’ve determined for their family is a very important step to the process.
At Exalt we will guide you through writing birth goals as a part of our doula service. We have also provided birth planning samples. Feel free to explore those tools here.
Why a Birth Plan
We know labor and birth are fairly unpredictable but so is a battle, going to war. But, no good soldier, captain or General leads an army into a battle without proper information and a plan. But, an even better soldier, captain or general can adapt to the unpredictability and consider the outcome as they travel the path.
This is precisely what a birth plan does. It sets a course, a goal, a desired outcome, equips the mother and her team to fight the beautiful battle of labor and delivery…then allows for the twists and turns to gently guide the couple in making informed, personal, and intimate decisions about their desired outcome.
Who Should Write a Birth Plan?
All women should consider writing a birth plan, or birthing goals. It is not reserved for just those individuals who desire to have a natural birth but all women. Planned Cesarean Sections can also have a birthing plan, and some cases it is even more critical because the mother will not be fully available to make decisions once their baby is delivered.
What is Included in a Birth Plan?
Birth plans cover a range of important information about the labor, birth process and after the baby is born concerning the initial moments and potential interventions upon a newborn.
As a general guide the following sections should be considered in a birth plan:M
- Type of birth: home birth, hospital birth, or birth center
- Pain Relief: none, possible pain relief, definite pain relief
- Stage of Relief: early, active, transition
- Birth Attendance: spouse/partner, doula, midwife, OB
- Birth Positions: there are many to choose from
- Ambiance: mood and lighting in the room
- Interventions During Labor: Induction, Pitocin, breaking the bag of waters, continuous monitoring, iv fluids with no heprin lock
- Interventions During Delivery: Episiotomy, breaking the bag of water, forceps/vacuum delivery
- Interventions Post Delivery: Pitocin, Early Cord Clamping, Traction of the Placenta, Eye Ointment (Erithromycin), Hep B shot for baby, immediate suction and cleaning, Vit K, Pacifiers
- Post Natal Choices: Rooming in, immediate skin-to-skin for 1 hour, breastfeeding, leaving vernix, delayed cord clamping, no vaccines (or specific)
- Special Requests: Placenta prints/preservation/encapsulation, cord blood donation/banking, early release, visitors
- Unique Circumstances:outline some things you want to see happen in the case of an unexpected change in delivery, i.e. cesarean section, tearing, neo-natal icu, etc.
This is just a basic list of items to consider for your birth plan. As you begin to research, read and ask questions of people you trust you will see that you are empowered to determine the path of your labor and delivery.
It is important to remember, there is no right answer when it comes to designing your birth goals. There is, rather, very important information you need in order to design your birth goals as an informed, empowered woman ready for the birthing “battle”. You need to be equipped.
Unfortunately much of this information is not the information you will get on the surface of being an expecting mom. The media and also our own friends and family tend to share with us their opinions on the birth experience from a place of fear.
It is highly critical to spend the time doing the research and asking questions of the right people ahead of time. Consider what is good for your baby, not just what is common or often done out of fear or the demands of insurance companies.
Having a baby and experiencing labor is a completely natural process. Make sure you are empowered.
Here is a great site and article from Birthing Naturally concerning birth planning and options.
You can view information about 1. Starting Labor Options, 2. Second Stage Labor Options (Active Labor), 4. Pain Management Options, 5. Monitoring Options, and 6. Newborn Care Options, as well as 7. Cesarean Options here at Birthing Naturally.
There is some amazing information provided by Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd in a book called “Birth as an American Rite of Passage”. You can read some of the information here as well. I highly recommend this book for reading and preparation.
Remember, artificially starting labor and or progressing labor along with interventions double your chance at having a Cesarean Delivery. It is best, in most cases with few exceptions, to allow labor to begin naturally and to progress without interventions as long as possible.