I’m convinced there are two types of pregnant people in the world - those that overthink a birth plan, and those that haven’t even thought of one. Both are normal! And no matter who you are, here are a few helpful tips and tricks of the trade when creating one (coming from an experienced birth doula).
At the end of this post, I’ve attached a PDF of a printable birth preferences sheet for your own use! Let's get into it.
I’m talking about one page, maximum. There is so much information that you might want to cover in your plan, and it’s easy to get carried away. It can be overwhelming for the Labor and Delivery staff to get handed a multi-page document when you check in, especially if they have their hands full with other births. Keep it simple by only including the information that you truly feel passionate about and feel the need to let the staff know.
If you feel strongly about a specific topic or procedure, it’s helpful to highlight or star it on your birth plan. Talk to your nurse or provider about your preferences when you arrive at the hospital/birthing center to reiterate how important certain things are to you. It’s helpful to talk to your provider about your birth plan before your due date to make sure they are on the same page as you before you go into labor.
I would never recommend going into birth without knowing how birth works. Spend time researching and practicing pain management techniques in the weeks leading up to your due date. If you have a doula, chances are they will spend time talking about this at a prenatal appointment. But, if you don’t have a doula, I recommend taking it to YouTube and watching videos on how to manage labor pains. Do your research on the pro’s and con’s of each method to make sure that you fully understand and can make an informed decision about which methods you want to utilize for pain management. If you have any questions, us or your provider would be more than willing to help you learn!
Common pain management during labor includes:
This sounds intense but I promise I won’t scare you away. In some birth settings, it’s the sad truth that you have to fight for informed consent and your right to birth how your body wants. Understanding how your body will labor and push your baby out will help you feel confident in advocating for your rights during birth. Remember, there is no wrong way to birth. Your choices are truly your own, and choose what you will feel the most comfortable with, not what others are influencing you to do.
Some things to consider for birth and pushing:
Those moments after birth are magical but chaotic. It can seem like a thousand things are happening at once, but simultaneously the world is moving so slow. Preparing yourself for postpartum decisions ahead of time and keeping them in your birth plan is a great way to make sure your birth team knows your wishes without you having to remember them in the moment.
In the first few hours after birth, here are some things to consider:
I try to remind my clients that your birth preferences are just that - preferences. Birth is very unpredictable, and no two are the same. Having a birth plan can help you feel prepared and confident in the choices you make surrounding your birth experience, but try to be aware that not everything you wish for may be possible. It’s our job as doulas to help support and educate you to have the birth that you want. If you have any questions about creating a birth plan or any of the things I’ve talked about above, drop a comment below or send us an email!
Thanks for making it through this post! I’ve attached a copy of my Birth Preferences sheet that I love giving to clients! Feel free to print it out and use it yourself.