How to Create a Birth Plan
If a baby is in your future, you’ve likely been planning — stocking up on nappies, newborn clothes and blankets, as well as thinking what you will name your new little one. But before the baby is born, you should plan to lead up to the very moment of birth. This is known as a birth plan, and it’s an important piece of two-way communication.
A birth plan is a way for you to communicate your wishes to those caring for you during your labour and after the birth of your baby. Creating a birth plan empowers you to become informed of all your options during labour. At the same time, it’s a tool to let the team caring for you know about your preferences.
It is a good idea in the weeks leading up to your due date that you have attended an Antenatal class so that you fully understand the type of birth you would like to have and the various different options you have for labour birth and beyond, then you can put forward these ideas onto a birth plan and have it all ready for the day you go into hospital to meet your baby.
Why is a birth plan necessary?
A birth plan is a way for you to communicate your wishes to those caring for you during your labour and after the birth of your baby. Every birth is a unique experience. Creating a birth plan empowers you to become informed of all your options during labour. At the same time, it’s a tool to let the team caring for you know about your preferences.
Do I need to write my own birth plan?
You don’t have to create your birth plan from scratch. You can get different templates for them and here at The Happy Baby Class, we have a birth plan template available to you if you attend an antenatal class with us. It’s recommended to review your birth plan with your provider during your pregnancy. Find out if the location at which you are delivering can accommodate your wishes. For example, if your pregnancy is a high risk, your provider may advise against certain things on your birth plan. It’s a good idea to have this conversation before you arrive at the hospital.
What needs to be included in the birth plan?
Although you may have in your mind how you want your baby’s birth to be, your choices may not be heard effectively if you don’t have a birth plan. Who do you want to be present in the delivery room? Do you want to be offered medication for pain management? If so, what type of medication? Do you want a natural birth and to use alternative measures for comfort? Do you want to freely move around during labour? D Do you want your baby continuously monitored? Who is going to be your support person? Who is going to cut the cord? What way do you wish to feed your baby? These are just a few items that can be included in your birth plan. It does not have to be very extensive.
After my baby is born, how do I indicate my preferences?
A birth plan does not end with the delivery of your new baby. The care team will want to know how you want your baby to be cared for in the hospital. For example, explaining who will be cutting the umbilical cord, changing the baby’s first diaper and giving the baby his or her first bath. In addition, the birth plan can indicate how you wish to feed your baby. Identifying breast milk or formula as a nutritional preference is also a very important item for your birth plan.
Your birth plan is tailored to meet your personal wishes. Keep in mind, there can be circumstances where the medical team needs to depart from the plan to ensure the safest possible delivery. Remember, the goal during delivery is to have a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Your birth plan can help communicate your preferences to the care team during one of the most exciting times of your life.
It is important to put together a plan or preference list, write it down, keep a copy in your maternity notes, your support person/partner should also have a copy and you should make it known to whoever is caring for you in labour that you have a plan, they can read it make note of it and hope that everything on such plan happens for you.