I hear the question all the time: “Why do I need a birth plan?” It’s a fair question. A mother-to-be has read a dozen books and talked with two dozen mothers. What else is there to know? And to that I say, “You don’t want to find out why a birth plan is necessary by going through labor without one.”
First, a birth-planning template gives parents a way to visualize their ideal birth. It reflects your desires, hopes and values — not someone else’s. You control what birth means to you after doing your own research. The nurses, care provider, partner and doula can then refer to your plan during labor.
I’ve known plans that differ greatly from the preferences of the care providers’. In that case, I advise women to have a conversation with the care provider before “the big day.” Begin with an introductory paragraph or statement about who you are and the overall experience you desire. Birth plans do not have to be elaborate or grandiose. Often times, birth plans are the bones, and the labor and birth are the fillers. Let’s get a sample template started!
Onset of Early Labor Phase
How do you plan to distract yourself from contractions? Think about what you enjoy doing, what is peaceful and engaging to you. Such as: baking, crafting, sleeping, reading, watching television, spending time with your other children, putting finishing touches on the baby’s room. Most importantly, don’t forget to rest if you are able. You may have long days ahead of you. Your partner, your doula, your loving family, your best friends…can all assist in making the period of early labor less anxiety-ridden.
Heading to the Hospital
What if your waters release before contractions begin? How will you handle a fast labor? How could you handle contractions that never seem to progress to the magic frequency your doctor told you to expect? Who will you call to watch your children? How will you contact your significant other? Who will call for you if labor is progressing rapidly? How do you plan to get to the hospital (who will drive you?)
Labor can progress slowly, and labor can progress rapidly. Staying in-tune with yourself and your body can help keep at bay the movie-style rushing out of the door. Have your birth team and peeps in your “favorites” for at a moments notice.
You’ve planned out and written down your personal desires for your upcoming birth. All of this information will help your support team (partner, doula, etc.) with your specific wishes during labor and birth. This will help guide them in supporting you with your specific wishes as much as possible during the labor and birth. Create a much more simplified plan for your care provider and the hospital staff (it needs to be easy to read in a fast-paced labor situation).
Explain a bit of your birth history. I’ve had …
Specify your goals. Unmedicated labor, an epidural at a certain point …
List any allergies.
Note issues that are important to you. Highlight anything that might deviate from standard care. Let them know you’ll discuss anything …
Keep everything short and to the point.
To help curate your own personalized in-depth planning, Vegas Family Doulas is offering all Las Vegas Baby Magazine Readers a FREE Birth or Postpartum Planning Session.
Mention LVBM-Terra when calling to schedule your session!
Take a screen shot or print the image below to start curating your birth plan!
Aisha Fanning/Vegas Family Doulas