A friend of mine messaged me this morning asking if I’d be willing to share my Birth Plan, discussed in my most recent blog post about what to pack for the hospital, with her as she is expecting another baby this summer. It had never even occurred to me that moms-to-be would find this information helpful as they get ready to deliver, so I’m very glad that she thought to ask!
My husband and I were very lucky to have made our Birth Plan with the help of our Bradley Method birth instructor, Julie. If you’re a first time parent, I highly recommend taking the 12 week Bradley Method course. It will be invaluable to you as your prepare for labor and postpartum care. The website for the local San Antonio teachers is here. You can also visit their Facebook page for more information. Also, as a refresher for our most recent pregnancy, we took a 4 week course from San Antonio Birth Classes. It was a great opportunity for us to brush up on hospital policies and relaxation techniques.
So, here is both an outline complete with descriptions of each category + our specific bullet points. This is geared towards women expecting to have a vaginal birth. Our personal birth plan is specifically created to reflect our wishes for an unmedicated labor and delivery. If you’re having a scheduled Cesarean, this outline will not be ideal for you, but I still highly recommend making a birth plan! Let them know how you’d like your C-section to go. Make sure you’re tailoring your birth plan to suit YOUR needs! Every birth is completely unique, so every birth plan should be as well.
[Insert Last Name] Family Birth Plan
Father/Mother-to-Be or Birth Partner:
Here is where you state exactly what you’re hoping will happen with your birth. Be specific, but also understand that situations can change drastically very quickly. While they’re called Birth Plans, our Bradley Method Instructor said to think of them more as Birth Wishes. If you do have to stray from your Birth Plan, remember the Informed Consent Questions as you make the best decisions for you & baby.
- Is this an emergency or can we talk?
- What are the benefits?
- What are the risks?
- If we do this, what else might we have to do as a result?
- Is there anything we else we can try first?
- What will happen if we wait before trying this procedure?
Our General Request bullet points were:
- We are attempting to have an all-natural birth with limited medical intervention. Please do not offer medication unless specifically asked for from mom, dad, or midwife.
- We would like time for mom’s body to progress through her labor without time constraints unless otherwise medically necessary.
- We want the option of utilizing a birthing ball, changing positions, lighting, music, and temperature to keep mom happy and healthy.
- We would prefer for the Bag of Waters to break naturally. If BOW breaks before onset of labor, please wait 24 hours (if baby/mom okay) before inducing.
Here is where you state how you want Early/Active labor to go.
These points were most important to us, but I did receive a Hep-Lock with both births just in case I needed fluids or intervention quickly.
- Please keep vaginal exams to a minimum to protect from infection.
- Mom would prefer to be mobile—not to be restricted by constant monitoring of External Fetal Monitor. Fetal stethoscope checks preferred.
- Mom would like to hydrate herself instead of relying on I.V. fluids.
Here is where you state what you’d like during pushing.
Our bullet points were:
- We request use of a squatting bar to aid during pushing. (I didn’t use this at all for our daughter’s delivery.)
- We would prefer perineal support and massage to encourage natural tearing instead of an episiotomy. (Perineal support and massage was critical in both our birth’s as it kept me from major tearing and eased the intense “ring of fire” feeling that happens as baby crowns.)
Here is where you outline what you’re hoping will happen with baby right after they’re born.
Our bullet points were:
- Please place baby on Mom’s abdomen immediately after birth. We would like to promote skin-to-skin contact and encourage breastfeeding.
- Dad would like to cut umbilical cord AFTER it has stopped pulsating.
- Please allow for immediate bonding with family and delay routine procedures.
- We prefer that NO bottles or pacifiers be given to our baby.
- We would like baby to stay with Mom and Dad. Should complications arise, wherever baby goes Dad goes too. In case of emergency with Mom, grandparents (insert names here) will accompany baby so Dad can stay with Mom.
In case of emergency C-section:
This part is pretty self-explanatory, but your bullet points will depend on what you’re comfortable with. If we had to have a C-Section, we wanted it to be as family-oriented as possible.
Our bullet points were:
- Mom prefers to be awake during surgery with Dad present.
- Mom would prefer not be restrained so that she may touch/hold baby.
- If Mom and baby are okay, please place baby on Mom’s chest for immediate skin-to-skin. If Mom cannot hold baby, please do skin-to-skin with Dad.