How To Create A Birthing Plan That’s Practical

Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life. But as the period winds down and the prospect of labor and delivery gets closer, many birthing professionals encourage pregnant women to create a birth plan. A birth plan can be as simple or extravagant as a woman wants. But the goal is to create a list of guidelines that outline expectations for labor and delivery. While a birth plan will never play out as planned, the following tips can help women create a framework to share with a physician or midwife before the big day arrives.

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Should visitors arrive immediately after delivery?

Unsurprisingly, well-wishers want to visit mom and the new baby once the happy news is shared. But labor and delivery can be exhausting, and a couple wanting a little time to bond and be alone with the new baby isn’t unreasonable. Consider creating a guideline to share with a birthing partner that outlines exactly how much time should pass before guests visit while at the hospital. And, don’t feel bad about limiting the guest list.

What about medications?

To say labor is an uncomfortable experience is a bit of an understatement to any woman who’s ever lived through the experience. But not all women want to use pain medications. If a woman is adamant about not taking medication, be sure to include that information in a birth plan. And convey that information to the birthing partner, any attending physicians, or midwives so that recommendations aren’t offered that are against a woman’s wishes.

Pick an advocate

In a perfect world, a woman could advocate telling physicians precisely what is expected even during labor and delivery. But labor can be an all-consuming experience that requires focus to transition through contractions. Consider nominating a partner, doula, loved one, or relative who will be on-site during labor and delivery. The individual can speak on a woman’s behalf when a woman is unable to do so. However, for best results, communicate any restrictions or guidelines with the advocate beforehand.

Chat with a healthcare provider about the plan

Clear communication is essential when crafting a birthing plan. Ensuring that all healthcare providers are aware of the mothers’ overall goals and possible complications that could impose a birthing risk is essential to ensure that a woman’s birthing experience is healthy, safe, and positive.

Think about the post-birth experience

If plenty of skin-to-skin time as soon as the baby is born, include that information in the birthing plan. If a woman is considering breastfeeding, think about whether a lactation specialist should visit shortly after birth to give guidance. And many couples prefer to have the baby stay in the same room rather than being primarily in the nursery. Even more minor concerns like whether a pacifier should be introduced or not should be included in a birth plan.

Communication is key

No matter what details wind up in the birthing plan, lines of communication should be open between the woman, the birthing partner, and healthcare providers. When all members are informed, sticking to a birth plan is more manageable. However, women should always have a degree of flexibility as unexpected situations can arise during labor and delivery.

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