Why is Writing a Birth Plan Essential?

What is a birth plan? Why is it essential that I create a birth plan? Think of your birth plan like a guide or a roadmap to reaching your vision of your birth. Birth Plans are there to help prevent making important medical decisions on the spot when you are going through labor. There are lot of things to consider when going through labor and birth, which is why it is important to think of your preferences. Not only should your birth plan help you reach the labor and birth you have envisioned, but also it is important to consider and include your preferences in case things don’t go to plan. It’s important to have plan A, but having a plan B or even a plan C can be very important in critical medical decisions for you and your baby.

Here’s an example that I had to consider for my birth. I wanted a natural birth in a birth center, and had listed all the techniques and strategies to help me feel calm through my labor and birth. Now in case something went array, I had in my birth plan a birth-friendly hospital written that I would like to be taken to. I also considered that if a C-Section was necessary for my baby’s safety, I wanted a gentle Cesarean experience and a vaginal swab done for my baby. Fortunately I didn’t have to experience a C-Section, but I had some complications after delivering the placenta, therefore I was rushed to my desired hospital. Because I had a backup plan, I felt reassured that I was being taken care of and my plan followed by care providers and family.

Birth plans also help prevent confusion for your spouse/family and care providers. Creating your birth plan and communicating with those who will be at your birth will help your labor and birth experience go smoothly and will be less frustrating for those helping you. This will help it become less of a guessing game for those helping you, which will decrease frustrations or confusion in your birth experience. Be honest on what you want, this is YOUR plan, not someone else’s. Don’t choose things because you should, do things that reflect your views and nobody else’s!

Here are some things to consider when creating a birth plan:

  • During Labor
    • Positions to help with labor and birth. Like being on your hands and knees, leaning on spouse, or bouncing on a ball?
    • If you prefer continual fetal monitoring or not?
    • Do you want freedom of movement? Or to stay on the bed?
    • Do you want pain medications?
    • Do you want to be induced? How?
    • How do you want the environment to feel and look like ? Bright? Dim?
    • Do you want music? Meditation soundtracks? Quiet?
    • Do you prefer people whispering? Talking aloud?
    • Who do you want to be in the room with you?
    • Do you want affirmations read to you?
    • Do you want to be touched?
    • Do you want essentials oils? A warm bath to labor in?
    • What foods and liquids will you want to consume? (This will be important to consider on how you want to communicate your wants when you are going through labor and how your spouse can help you here).
    • Do you want some to video/take photos of your experience?
  • During Delivery/Newborn Care
    • Are you planning a vaginal, Cesarean, VBAC, or water birth?
    • Do you prefer to tear or haven an episiotomy?
    • Who do you want to catch the baby?
    • Do you want skin to skin immediately after birth?
    • Do you want delayed cord clamping?
    • Yes or No to Hepatitis B shot?
    • Yes or No to Vitamin K shot?
    • Yes or No to eye ointment?
    • Yes or No to a PKU test?
    • Do you want to delay screenings until you have your Golden Hour with your baby?
    • Do you want to try breastfeeding when doing skin to skin?
    • Do you want baby to stay in the room?
    • Do you want to bathe your baby?

Remember to keep your birth plan to one page, short and sweet, so it is easier for your care providers to read over your plan and help you through labor and delivery. Also remember that it is important to be flexible if everything doesn’t go right in your plan. That’s why it is important to consider Plan B and even C.

With all this information, this can be overwhelming on where to start. When creating a plan, talk to your spouse, midwife, or care provider about your vision and preferences, and they can help you put together your plan. If you need help getting started, feel free to reach out to us here at The Utah Birth Place, we are always happy to help. You and your body are incredible, when you are prepared, there’s nothing to fear.

Here are some birth plans below to help you get started.

Free Visual Birth Plan Template (Doctors & Nurses Love This!)

Birth Preferences.pdf

Birth Plan Template and Checklist

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