If you are new around here, you might not know that pre-blogging, I worked in the birth world. After college and while in Nursing school, I fell in love with Obstetrics and worked in Labor & Delivery as a medical assistant. My long term goal was always to be a labor nurse and eventually complete a midwifery program. Somewhere along the way, I also decided to complete doula training, certify through a large organization, and independently work for clients. Over the years I have learned more about maternal/fetal medicine and obstetrics than I could ever share at one time. I am so passionate about birth work and I look forward to re-entering that world when the kids are a little older.
With that said, I feel fairly qualified to talk about birth plans. When I mention birth plans, I am usually met with one of two responses. Either, “Birth plans are dumb, it happens like it happens and there is no plan.” or, the people who get the importance and have been planning their births since they conceived.
Birth plans aren’t for the over prepared OR the under prepared. They are for everyone. While we tend to be conditioned to going with the flow during labor and delivery, we actually have lots of options and decisions to make. We aren’t at the mercy of any nurse, physician, or hospital. We are in charge of our birth experience and it’s important to “pre-think” as many of these decisions as we can before we are in the throes of labor pains and brain fog.
Why do you need a birth plan?
Simply put, in the midst of a very stressful and unpredictable course of events, providers/staff/loved ones need to know what your wishes are so that they can be accommodated to the best of their abilities and so that you aren’t having to make snap decisions during this time.
There are key things to keep in mind while building a birth plan:
1 | There are multiple stages of birth and they should all be considered.
There should be a section in your birth plan for labor, delivery (both vaginal and in the event of a cesarean), and intentions for newborn care and treatment, such as cord blood banking. If you plan to do cord blood banking, it’s critical to list it on your birth plan.
Per the Americord website: “Cord blood is an easily accessible source of stem cells that is available only when your baby is born. It remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. The type of stem cells that are recovered from the cord blood are called hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). HSCs can become any of the blood cells and cellular blood components in our bodies (such as white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, etc.).”
2 | Evidence based research is key to helping you decide what options are best for you and your family.
There are loads of resources out there to research standard practices in the hospital and what choices you can make for your and baby’s care. Try to avoid opinions and advice from others and study unbiased research.
3 | Keep an open mind.
Possibly the most important thing when considering your birth plan is to recognize that birth is extremely unpredictable and things can change in the blink of an eye. While we should have intentions and goals for ourselves and new baby, we must always be open to change and recognize that having an alternative outcome does not mean we failed.
Download my FREE PRINTABLE birth plan and start thinking about your choices and investigating anything you’re unsure about! I’ve divided it up into categories and addressed the most standard procedures. Feel free to ask me anything and I will find an answer or resource for you!