Today we are discussing how to write your birth plan! One of our favorite midwives, Jessica Willoughby, of The Rosemary Birthing Home, will be sharing her 10 Tips for effectively writing out your birth plan.
What is a Birth Plan?
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. A written birth plan also helps refresh your provider’s memory when you’re in labor. And it informs new members of your medical team — such as your labor and delivery nurse — about your preferences when you’re in active labor. Most hospitals (and birth centers) provide a birth plan worksheet or brochure that explains the hospital’s policies and philosophy of childbirth, and lets you know what your options might be when you give birth. That information can help guide you in a discussion with your healthcare provider about your preferences when you face choices along the way. That discussion can be the basis for a birth plan, if you decide to create one. (Source)
You can print this birth plan worksheet to note your preferences.
Writing Your Birth Plan
Know how the typical birth goes in the United States and know what evidence-based practices are. Write your birth plan based on that research.
Keep it short and simple.
Stick to one page.
Know the policies of where you are delivering.
Depending on where you are delivering, some things are not up for negotiation and some things go without saying. Know what your options are before you write your birth plan.
Include only the most important things.
There is no need to have ten bullet points on the type of lighting, music and comfort measure you want to use. Bullet what’s important; example: unmedicated birth, immediate skin-to-skin, delayed cord clamping, exclusive breastfeeding, rooming in…
Know why you’re choosing the things you include on your birth plan.
Know the importance of skin-to-skin, exclusive breastfeeding, rooming in and any other things that you may include on your birth plan – don’t just include them because you saw them on a sample birth plan online. Unfortunately, you may find yourself defending your birth plan. By being informed you’ll be educating the staff that attends your birth and your knowledge of evidence-based birth practices will help you navigate your stay.
Write your birth plan in a chronological order.
Start with labor, birth, immediate postpartum and end with newborn care.
Bring copies with you.
You may experience several shift changes during your stay at the hospital, so have enough birth plans for everyone, even postpartum.
Your birth plan is a wish list; have a back-up plan if things don’t necessarily go how you envision.
You can go far with kindness for the people who are attending your birth. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar 🙂
Know you can ask for a different nurse.
The best birth plan and nicest attitude can’t change your nurse if she’s having an ‘off day’. If you’re not meshing well with your nurse, ask to speak to the charge nurse and request someone else.
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