I am having a baby – do I really need a birth plan?
Whether this is your first or fourth child, a birth plan can be a great tool for your baby’s delivery.
Not every birth can go as you plan. So, why take the time to create a birth plan - and when should it be used?
A birth plan is a guide
It can be as long or short as you want. You can use a form – or write your wishes on a piece of paper. By creating a birth plan, you show your preferences for how you would ideally like the birth to take place.
It is important to remember that this is a guide. Changes in your health or the health of your baby may necessitate something you don't prefer. For example, you may plan to have no pain management but once your labor is progressing you may choose to ask for medication.
A birth plan helps you think ahead
Share your wishes with your partner and your OB. Talking through the choices you have will help prepare you for that special day. Bring a copy to the hospital and give a copy of it to the nurses who help you with your baby's delivery.
What should it include?
Your birth plan will cover both the labor and delivery of your baby. Write down your:
Preferences during labor
- Pain management options – what do you prefer?
- Birth positions – are there any you want to try to use?
- Lighting and sound – do you have music you want to play – do you want lights dimmed as much as possible?
- Who will be in the room with you?
- Do you want a mirror to see your baby's delivery?
- Who will cut the cord?
- Do you want cord – clamping?
- Who do you want to announce the baby's name and sex?
Babies don't always follow the 'plan.'
It is important to remember a birth plan is just that: a plan - not a certainty. You will want to be flexible - complications may come up during labor. We are supportive of a mother's wishes – but, ultimately the health of you and your baby is the most important.
I deliver babies almost every day at Methodist Women's Hospital. I like the reassurance it gives families that there are specialists and facilities ready for a complication – should one arise. I want you and your baby to be healthy and safe.