As an expectant mother, you have a lot to deal with, not least of which is getting ready for the much-anticipated delivery of your baby.
One of the best ways to go into delivery feeling comfortable and empowered is by creating a birth plan that will help the experience be what you want.
To help you prepare, here are answers to some important questions about birth plans.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a document outlining what you want to have happen during your child’s birth. Writing it down ensures you are prepared and that the people involved know what you want.
“They are a great way to start learning and thinking about the labor and delivery process, the decisions that will need to be made, and what you might be asked,” said Dr. Caitlyn Zinn, an OB-GYN at TriHealth’s Samaritan OB-GYN.
How long should a birth plan be?
A short plan of 1-2 pages will help you focus on important points without feeling like you need to write a book but be as specific as you want.
“The best thing about a birth plan is that it is very personal and customizable,” Dr. Zinn said. “I don’t think you can be too specific if it is something you feel very strong about.”
Keep in mind that, because labor and delivery can go quickly, being concise will help your care team easily see what is important to you.
How should I talk to medical providers about my birth plan?
At the beginning of your third trimester, your birth plan should be an integral part of the discussion with your doctor about delivery options.
Then, when you go to the hospital to give birth, bring your plan. While nurses should ask if you have one, be proactive and bring it up. It will become a part of your medical record, something your care team has access to.
Do I need provider approval for my birth plan?
Be prepared to discuss anything outside of a hospital’s norm beforehand.
“The best birth plan is one you and your provider have agreed upon,” Dr. Zinn said. “Your provider can provide clarification or support for some of the options you might be thinking about and answer any questions.”
What should be in a birth plan?
Here are a few things Dr. Zinn said you should consider:
· Who will be in the delivery room
· What interventions you want, such as IV fluids, medications to help labor, and continuous fetal monitoring
· What pain medications you want, from none to IVs and epidurals
· What you want after delivery, such as delayed cord clamping or newborn medications
Use one or multiple online templates, so you can choose the points you feel are important to include.
Can my birth plan change?
You can change your mind, but make sure you tell the people involved. Additionally, prepare for the unexpected.
“The best birth plans are flexible ones, as nothing is set in stone in childbirth,” Dr. Zinn said.
How can I be aware of my needs and feel empowered?
Find a doctor you can communicate with because the key to implementing your birth plan is being able to share it.
“Make sure you feel comfortable with your provider and medical team, as they can advocate for you as well as your partner or support person,” Dr. Zinn said.
TriHealth will connect you with a doctor who will help you implement your birth plan. Learn more about how TriHealth can help you through pregnancy and delivery at TriHealth.com/maternity.