Welcome back to our weekly series! This week we are discussing Birth Plans and why you should have one.
I had a birth plan when I had my daughter. But a lot of the things I wanted went out the window because I had to be induced, like being able to walk around to help alleviate labor pains. My mother-in-law scoffed at the idea when she found out I had one, but there are a ton of reasons why you should have one. So let's dig into them.
So what is a birth plan?
According to BabyCenter: "A birth plan is a document that tells your medical team your preferences for such things as how to manage labor pain. Of course, you can't control every aspect of labor and delivery, and you'll need to stay flexible in case something comes up that requires your birth team to depart from your plan. But a printed document gives you a place to make your wishes clear when you have a choice."
You should always talk to your doctor or midwife about your wishes before hand, but it's nice to have a birth plan when you go to the hospital just so the doctors and nurse can stay up to speed on your wishes and needs.
Why do you need a birth plan?
Do you want an epidural, no epidural, or go completely unmedicated?
Do you want a routine episiotomy?
Do you want to breastfeed or formula feed?
Do you want to circumcise or not?
Do you want to bank your child's cord blood?
Do you want to delay your baby's first bath?
Do you want to give your baby a pacifier or not?
These are all questions answered in your birth plan. Hospitals tend to have routines they like to stick to, but your labor is just that...yours. You don't want to feel robbed of a certain experience just because you didn't ask before hand, like having your baby cleaned on your chest so you can start bonding immediately or delay your baby's first bath so you can breastfeed as long as your baby wants to for that first time. Some of the things in a birth plan are routine. But you need to make sure everyone is on board. You have talked to your doctor about your plan and they understand your needs, but that doesn't mean the nurses at the hospital know. You should also talk to your partner/labor team and let them understand your birth plan, so they can get on board and help make sure unnecessary inventions aren't taking over. If you have no certain desires either way or you are a go-with-the-flow type of person, that's great! But even you should still have a birth plan too. It may not be as long or specific as others, but there will be some things that you will want to go one way or the other.
Here is a GREAT list of 10 FREE Printable Birth Plans.
I suggest going through each one and customizing one that's perfect for you.
I had a birth plan and no not everything went according to plan, but I am so glad I had one. Some of the things on my birth plan weren't very specific because I truly was go with the flow on most of the topics, but the main things I wanted happened the way I wanted them to and that was because I had a birth plan. So do your research and make an educated decision before diving in. Remember women have been this forever, but you are unique and so is your labor.
Did you have a birth plan? Did everything go according to plan? Looking back, would you change your original birth plan?
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