8 Things To Include In Your Birth Plan

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Writing a birth plan can help you feel more prepared and empowered as your due date approaches. A birth plan lays out your wishes for labor, delivery, postpartum, and newborn care. Even if you don’t end up sticking to the plan, it is a valuable tool for educating yourself and making informed decisions during labor and delivery.

General Tips for Writing a Birth Plan

  • There are many pre-made forms that you can fill out available from multiple websites, but you should write your own for the best results.
    • Think about using the prewritten plans as a tool to use for writing your own plan. 
  • Your birth plan should be brief, 1-2 pages is a good length.
  • Make instructions and requests clear and easy for doctors and other healthcare providers to read.
  • Bullet points are a good way to go to communicate clearly.
  • Use language that is firm but polite.
  • If you want to, include short explanations of your choices.
  • Make sure you are properly educated on your choices. There are many resources you can use to learn more about your different options. Ask your doctor about the best sources to use and think about taking a childbirth preparation course.
  • Discuss your birth plan with your obstetrician, midwife, or other relevant care providers before your due date.
  • Know that even if you make a plan, things may not go exactly as you pictured. The goal is for you and your baby to be healthy, and your healthcare providers will work to make sure that happens.

8 Things to Include When Writing a Birth Plan

1. The Key People Involved

When writing a birth plan, begin with listing the names and contact information for the key people involved in your delivery. This could include:

  • You
  • Your obstetrician or midwife
  • Your chosen pediatrician
  • Your partner or anyone else you expect to be present at the delivery

If there are people you don’t want to be involved in the delivery, you can identify them as well.

2. Relevant Information On Your Medical History

Include a section with important information on your medical history. List any medications you are taking, any conditions you are being treated for, and information on past pregnancies and deliveries.

3. What Type of Environment You Want

Put where you want to give birth in writing. If you are being seen by an obstetrician or certified nurse-midwife (CNM), that will most likely be at the hospital or birthing center they work with.  But you should also put down in writing the type of atmosphere or environment you want to deliver your baby into. Note if you want certain music or guided meditations to be played. Or if you want the room to be as quiet as possible, make sure that’s clear. 

4. Pain Management Preferences

Make sure you include your preferences for pain management. That means whether or not you want an epidural and any pain management techniques you want to use. If you have had trouble with pain management during previous deliveries, make sure you make a note of that. 

5. Preferences for Birthing Positions

If you have discussed or explored different birthing positions with a care provider, note your preferences when writing your birth plan. Make sure you are educated on how to use these positions and any props you will be using. If you end up getting an epidural, you may need a contingency plan because you may not have the leg strength for squatting or sitting.

6. Other Wishes for Delivery

When writing a birth plan, you may also want to include:

  • Whether or not you want an episiotomy
  • What types of medications you want to avoid in the event of an emergency C-section
  • Requests for delayed cord clamping when possible
  • Choices for cord blood donation or cord blood banking

7. What Type of Postpartum Care You Want

In your birth plan, let healthcare providers know what kind of medications do and do not work for you. This includes pain medications, stool softeners, and laxatives. 

8. Instructions for Newborn Care

Be clear about what kind of care you want your baby to receive. For instance, if you want to hold the baby skin-to-skin immediately after delivery, make a note of this. Include details on:

  • Your plans regarding breastfeeding
  • The use of antibiotic eye ointment
  • The use of vitamin K
  • When the baby will be bathed for the first time

Of course, you should find a pediatrician to discuss these things with before you deliver so you are prepared to make these decisions.

The physicians, nurses, and medical staff at Kernodle OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women in Burlington and Mebane, NC. If you have questions about how your hormones are affecting your health, call us at (336) 538-2367 to make an appointment.

Click here to read the Duke Health COVID-19 update for information on the steps we’re taking to keep you safe. 

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