A birthing plan is a document that communicates a pregnant individual's preferences and desires for their birthing experience to the medical staff, midwives, doulas, partners, and anyone else involved in the birth. While it's a way to prepare for the birth and provide guidance to the attending medical team, it's essential to remember that the unpredictability of childbirth might require some flexibility regarding the birth plan's specifics.
Environment: Preferences for lighting, noise levels, music, etc.
People Present: Who the individual wants in the room, such as partners, family members, doulas, etc.
Movement and Positions: Whether they wish to walk around, use birthing balls, squat, lie down, etc.
Interventions: Feelings about procedures like membrane sweeps or breaking the water artificially.
Natural Methods: Breathing techniques, massage, water birth, etc.
Medications: Whether or not they're open to pain relief like epidurals, nitrous oxide, or opioid analgesics.
Preferences for fetal heart rate monitoring, whether continuous or intermittent.
Pushing: Positions they prefer for pushing or if they want to be guided on when to push.
Assisted Delivery: Feelings about the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor.
Immediate Care: Preferences regarding skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping, who cuts the umbilical cord, etc.
Cesarean Section (C-Section):
If a C-section becomes necessary, any specific desires about the procedure. For instance, they might request a clear drape to see the baby being born or to have immediate skin-to-skin contact if circumstances allow.
Feeding: Whether they plan to breastfeed, formula feed, or a combination of both.
Newborn Procedures: Preferences regarding routine procedures like vitamin K shots, eye ointment, vaccinations, or circumcision.
Rooming-in: Whether the baby stays in the room with the parent(s) or goes to the nursery.
Any cultural or religious practices they wish to observe.
Any previous traumas or experiences they want the medical staff to be aware of.
Research: Understand different birthing options and interventions so you can make informed choices.
Stay Flexible: Childbirth can be unpredictable. It's crucial to be open to changes if they're in the best interest of the baby or the birthing individual.
Communicate: Discuss the birth plan with healthcare providers, partners, and support persons. They can provide feedback and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Keep it Concise: A shorter plan (one to two pages) is more likely to be read in its entirety by busy medical staff.