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Go Ask Mom

Midwifery at WHA: Writing your birth plan

Posted November 25, 2013

Brian Walker holds his daughter, Ashley Lynn, who was born at 1:37 p.m. at Rex Hospital in Raleigh on Father's Day 2012.

Editor's Note: Midwifery at Women's Health Alliance, the sponsor of our Go Ask Mom Cutest Baby Contest, is offering some health information this month. Check the box for more posts from Midwifery at WHA.

You’re having a baby! Wonderful news! On average, women will experience giving birth just a few times in their lives. Each pregnancy and birth experience is special and unique. With a little planning, you can make your birth experience your own.

Think about how you would like to experience your baby’s birth. If you haven’t given it any thought, you might have just planned to go to the hospital and do whatever is asked of you. That would be reasonable, as the labor nurses have much more skill and expertise in birthing babies, perhaps, than you! However, you can do many things that will make you feel better. There are so many creative options to keep you calm and focused during your labor and baby’s birth.

Babies come out the same way, so what’s changed? A generation ago, women went to the hospital and received routine care. This may have included a peri-shave, an enema, an IV, strict orders to remain in bed tethered to a fetal heart monitor, routine pain meds, a quick general anesthetic just as the baby’s head began to crown, and then mom might wake up to find that the baby had delivered.

This may not be the best “cookie cutter” scenario for every woman.

In today’s world, women are encouraged to advocate for themselves, to become knowledgeable and empowered. You can partner with your caregiver to develop a customized birth plan that will describe what you want during your labor and birth.

A well thought out and pre-written birth plan will communicate your wishes to the whole team. Do your homework, research reputable websites, such as our website, and share your birth plan with your provider by at least the 35th week of your pregnancy.

What are your options? Childbirth education classes often include discussions or suggestions on this topic. Some choices may be limited by hospital policy, but we encourage you to discuss your plan with your provider for guidance. Below are some ideas you might want to research using them as key words on your preferred web search engine and include in your birth plan.

  • IV access port instead of a continuous IV infusion
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Freedom to walk around the room or OB floor
  • Doula support
  • Room lighting per preference
  • Music
  • Intermittent fetal monitoring
  • Hypno-birthing
  • Massage
  • No medication
  • Birthing ball
  • IV medication
  • Epidural
  • Birthing bar, or vertical birth
  • No epidural
  • Cord blood bank
  • Vertical birth, or squatting or sidelying
  • Aromatherapy
  • Delayed cord clamping
  • Dad to cut cord
  • Mom or Dad to deliver baby
  • Breastfeed ASAP
  • Baby stays in room
  • Light, easily digestible snacks, such as crackers or cereal
  • Delay medications for baby

Your pregnancy, your labor and your birth are very special, important life events. Much like a graduation or a wedding, they deserve special planning, research and forethought. Have fun, think outside the box and get creative! Midwives are committed to helping you achieve your goals, along with your safe and memorable birth experience. 

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  • 123skipjack Nov 26, 2013

    Richard Pryor said: "Having a baby is like taking your lower lip and stretching it over your head" Also..."Put an extra stich in there for me doc"