A birth plan is a list of preferences on how you would like your birth experience to be. A plan helps your doctor know your wishes about pain management, delivery and infant care. It also serves as a starting point to open the communication lines with your healthcare team. Please remember that labor can be unpredictable, so good communication throughout the birth process is key to a positive outcome.
These items generally are covered in a birth plan:
What are your wishes during a normal labor and delivery?
How do you prefer your baby to be treated immediately after delivery and in the first few days of life?
What are your wishes in the case of unexpected events?
Below are some examples of preferences to consider during labor:
Atmosphere: Do you want music? low lighting? DVD players and TVs are available in all rooms.
Pain management: Do you prefer non-medicinal methods such as massage, meditation, shower/water therapy, walking around the room with frequent position changes? Or do you prefer IV pain medication or an epidural?
Episiotomies: Most doctors no longer perform episiotomies except in urgent situations where the birth of the baby needs to be sped up.
Assisted birth: Devices such as forceps or vacuum extraction rarely are used in normal deliveries these days.
Here are items to consider for immediate care of your infant:
Cord cutting: Which person do you want to cut the cord? Do you want the cord cut immediately or do you want to wait a few minutes?
Feeding: Are you going to breastfeed or bottlefeed?
Circumcision: If your baby is a boy, do you want him circumcised?
Consider these preferences during unexpected events:
If you have a Cesarean section, do you want someone to be in the OR with you?
Most of the time, moms
are awake and a spinal or epidural anesthesia is used so that they can
still experience the babys birth. Is that your wish?
View a sample birth plan to help create the birth experience that is right for you.