- Please don’t copy and paste an online birth plan and present it to your provider without reading it- there may be a lot of crazy stuff on there. There are some birth plans that involve giving birth in a pool of dolphins and using an African birth swing (I don’t even know what that is or where you would find one and I guarantee your there won’t be one on labor and delivery). Do some research and type out your own birth plan, making sure you review the details with your delivering provider and your labor and delivery nurse.
- Pain Control: if you are a first-time mom, wait and see how painful contractions are before you decide about an epidural. Everyone has a different level of pain that they can manage comfortably. Embrace the pain management technique that works for you and make sure you talk to your provider about all your options.
- The most common thing we hear is- “I don’t want to be hooked to a bunch of wires and monitors and have unnecessary exams and interventions and not be allowed to eat or drink while I am in labor.” We don’t want that for you either. We want you to go into labor naturally and deliver without any interventions. But we also want you to have a heathy baby and an uneventful recovery. Sometimes medications to help your labor progress if you are not progressing or antibiotics to prevent infection are necessary to get your little one here safely. Talk to your provider and find out what their philosophy on interventions are from the beginning.
- Discuss all plans about the baby after delivery with your pediatrician. Your delivering provider is not likely the person taking care of your baby. If you don’t want your baby to receive vaccinations or Vitamin K, this is something you should discuss with your pediatrician before delivery and decide together what is best for your family.
- Research the hospital or facility that you plan to have your baby at. If you want to labor in a tub, make sure that hospital has one. If you want to labor in a hospital with a level 3 NICU, again, make sure it has one. Plan a tour and ask the support staff lots of questions. Nothing can prepare you for something you haven’t experienced yet, but at least you will feel more comfortable.
I think the most important take home here is that you don’t let your birth plans encourage unrealistic expectations. While you can plan all you want, there is very little that can be planned about the birth process: You can’t plan how long labor will last, how much pain you will have, how big your baby will be or how your baby will tolerate labor. You should, however, discuss what your preferences are with your delivering provider and labor and delivery team beforehand so that way we can all achieve the same goal together- healthy baby, healthy pregnancy, and quick recovery.