Birth and Post-Birth Plans: Drafts to Download, Customize and Use!

by Svea Boyda-Vikander on December 4, 2012

Your little one is about to be born. One might say, your little one is about to hatch! Nothing compares to nesting with your newborn…

{Baby hummingbirds that just hatched.}

And to get there takes some work. And some planning.

Many women design birth and post-birth plans to clarify – both for themselves and for their care providers – the kind of birth and postpartum care they need. Birth plans are practical, tangible and written; if the mother feels sure that her plan will be read and considered, she feels safer in entering an altered state during labour. They can be helpful for all kinds of births, from elective cesareans to unassisted.

It can be difficult, even scary, to think about what could happen during birth and how you would want it to be handled. But planning for practical eventualities can actually help us to live in the moment: to disconnect from the external reality and go inward, to draw from our inner reserves of strength and have spiritual, ecstatic experiences (yes, it is possible! Yes, you deserve it!). Presenting your care provider with a birth plan ahead of time is also a good way to test the waters: will he/she listen to you during labour? Does he/she share your vision of birth and those precious newborn hours?

Why is this a concern? And what should a birth plan say, anyway? Judith Lothian, a New York-based childbirth educator says, “Tension between health professionals and patients caused by birth plans reflects the larger problems with contemporary maternity care: conflicting beliefs about birth, what constitutes safe, effective care, and ethical issues related to informed consent and informed refusal. The focus of birth plans should be to answer three patient-focused questions: What will I do to stay confident and feel safe? What will I do to find comfort in response to my contractions? Who will support me through labor, and what will I need from them?” (Lothian, 2006)

Big questions. Elizabeth {a BWF mom} shares her birth and post-birth plans. She says, “I got my birth plan from my doula, who got it from a client of hers. My OB/Gyn LOVED it (not to brag or anything) but she said she’s had couples come in with three and four pages of ‘demands’. My plan was one page for labor and delivery and one page for postpartum.” To download an editable copy of the birth plan, click here. For a copy of the post-birth plan, click here.

Birth Plan
[Parent(s) Name(s)]
Baby [boy/girl/surprise!]: [child’s name]
Estimated Due Date: [guess date]

Hospital/Birthing Center: [location name]
Mother’s Physician: [Doctor/midwife name]
Doula: [name]

We desire a labor & birth that results in a healthy baby and healthy mother.
We would prefer:

  • To have a vaginal delivery over cesarean
  • To have as few medications and other medical interventions as possible
  • To use a hep lock instead of a continuous IV
  • To have as much freedom of movement and position as possible during labor, including during the pushing stage
  • To labor in water as soon as [mama’s name] needs to and Dr. [name] says it’s ok
  • To use intermittent FHM or, if continuous FHM is deemed medically necessary, to use a portable or wireless fetal heart monitor
  • That labor augmentation techniques not be used
  • That the membranes not be ruptured artificially
  • To allow [mama’s name] to push with the urge
  • That pain medication is not offered
    • [Mama’s name] will ask for pain medication if she thinks it’s necessary
  • To risk a tear to the perineum rather than have an episiotomy
  • To have a local anesthetic in the perineal area if [mama’s name] deems it necessary
  • To allow the placenta to deliver naturally

 

Birth Plan
[Parent(s) Name(s)]
Baby [boy/girl/surprise!]: [child’s name]
Estimated Due Date: [guess date]

Hospital/Birthing Center: [location name]
Mother’s Physician: [Doctor/midwife name]
Doula: [name]

If medically possible, we would prefer:

  • To hold and bond with our child immediately after birth
  • To delay cord clamping and cutting until after the cord has stopped pulsating
  • To initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, including in the recovery room in the case of cesarean delivery
  • To delay newborn procedures and tests until after the initial breastfeeding and bonding
  • For at least one parent to be present for all medical procedures
  • That [baby/baby's name] room in with us at all times during our hospital stay
  • That no bottles, pacifiers, artificial nipples, formula or water be given to our child at any time during our hospital stay without our consent

For a family centered cesaren birth plan, visit here.

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