When I was having my first daughter I basically had no clue about anything. I had never heard of a birth plan and didn’t think about what I needed to do when I got to the hospital. All I knew was that when I got to around 9 months in my pregnancy and started feeling some pains I needed to start counting minutes between contractions and head to the hospital when they got close. I also knew I wanted drugs during labor, so I LOUDLY told my OBGYN “Give me drugs!!!” at every single visit and made sure that was marked down in my charts.
I was so unprepared on that big day that I even forgot to pack my toothbrush, so when the doctor came in to brief me after my C-section delivery I just about knocked him over with my bad breath and did the same to all my visitors until my husband had time to go get it from the house! I was definitely upset that I wasn’t better prepared.
Because I botched up my first time around I decided to get more prepared during my second pregnancy to ensure that the big day went a little more smoothly that time. That’s when I came across information about creating a birth plan.
What is a Birth Plan?
Basically, a birth plan is just a one page explanation of how you want everything to go on that big day! Then you just hand the plan to your doctor and he knows just what you want and all you have to do is moan and groan until the baby is born.
Here’s a list of the things you should consider when creating your Birth Plan.
1.) Decide who you want in the room when your baby is born. I just had my husband in the room for the actual birth, but said I wanted to allow my entire family in the room during labor.
2.) Be very specific about the type of pain relief you want. Do you want an Epidural or other medications, massage, meditation, breathing exercises etc… Check with your doctor to see what he/she recommends and what’s allowed. I’d recommend getting your husband to research effective labor massages cause my husband rubbed my feet and back when the pain started and it definitely helped!
3.) How do you want to deliver your baby and what positions do you want to use for labor. Some choose to sit in a bath tube during labor, others want to walk around or stand or sit. Ask your doctor about possible delivery positions and do some research to decide what you think would be best for you and your baby.
4.) When the delivery happens, choose if you want an Episiotomy or if you want other options to help avoid your vaginal area from tearing.
5.) Describe how you want your baby to be cared for after the delivery. Do you want your baby in your hospital room 24/7 or back in the nursery at night? Will you be breast feeding or bottle feeding? If bottle feeding make sure to ask the hospital what type of formula they use and do your research to consider if you want to bring your own formula, so your baby’s first feeding is with the formula you want to use.
Now, it’s important to remember that just because you have a plan that doesn’t mean that everything is going to go “as planned”. So you should also think about what you want done if you end up having to have a C-section, like I did. Once your birth plan is complete, store it away in a safe place and make sure to pack it in your hospital bag or diaper bag, so you take it to the hospital when your baby arrives.
It’s also a great idea to take your empty diaper bag to the hospital, so you have somewhere to put all the hospital freebees you’ll get during your stay. You’ll get things like a swaddle blanket, bottles and formula, small pink buckets (which I’ve found tons of uses for throughout the years) and many other items. You’ll pay for them in your hospital fees, so you might as well keep them!
And unfortunately, there’s no After Birth Plan that can make your first week home with baby easier, so you’ll just have to wing it!