You’ve picked a name. You’ve even decided who will be the godparents. If you have another child, you have prepared them for the arrival of their new brother or sister.
But do you know how to make a birth plan? This enables you to make your wishes known to your labor and delivery team.
“We think it’s very important for our patients to have a voice in their labor and delivery preferences,” said Dr. Sonya Williams. “We promise to listen to each of these requests and follow them as much as is safely possible. Our first priority is always the health and well-being of mom and baby.”
We’ll examine what a birth plan is and explore useful tips for creating one.
What Is a Birth Plan?
A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for your birth experience. Don’t think of a birth plan as a “checklist” or a “contract,” but rather as a guide to help your health care team know of your choices. It’s also a chance for us to get to know you better as we go on this journey together.
As OBGYNs and Certified Nurse Midwives, we understand how important the labor and delivery experience is, and we want to work with you to provide the best possible outcome while honoring your preferences.
While birth plan documents are important and useful, it’s vital to understand that every labor and delivery experience is unique and plans may change depending upon the situation. Be aware that often, your baby sometimes has plans of their own, and we have to adjust.
Our number one goal is to have a healthy mom and baby!
Five Tips for Creating Your Birth Plan
1. Talk to Us!
We’re partners in your care, and we want to know your wishes and how you envision your labor and delivery experience.
For more than 40 years, we’ve helped women in the Chapel Hill and Durham areas welcome new lives into the world. This experience has also given us great insight on what elements of a birth plan are the most effective.
We even have a useful template that you can use that guides you through every facet of the process. Just ask and we’ll be happy to provide it or you can get a copy of it by clicking the link at the end of this blog post.
2. Adhere to a Timeline
We suggest creating your birth plan around 34 weeks.
During your second trimester, give careful consideration to what to include in your birth plan. There is no need to write anything down yet. Use this time to ask us questions.
3. Keep Your Answers Clear and Concise
One of the reasons we like our birth plan template is that it provides clear, simple choices for you to check, but it also has space for you to include some personal facts about you, how you’ve prepared for the birth, and any other information you believe will be useful.
Our template helps you narrow down subjects to some of the most important topics.
For example, in our birth plan, there is space for you to write a few sentences in response to statements/questions such as: When I think of giving birth… I am looking forward to… and Something I want you to know about me and my coach/partner is….
4. Start Thinking of What Makes You More Comfortable
For some women, light massage or firm touch will help alleviate some of the discomfort of labor. For others, listening to music is a welcome distraction.
Our birth plan template provides easy multiple choice selections from some of the most common answers—with of course, space to add your own individual input.
5. Discuss Your Birth Plan with Your Partner or Coach
Your partner or support coach is a part of the process and we welcome them. Be sure they have a copy of your birth plan and are familiar with its contents.
How to Make a Birth Plan
Talking with us is the first step toward making a birth plan.
We also suggest drawing upon the knowledge and experience gained from some of our Centering Pregnancy ® classes. This information will help you make educated choices about your preferences.
When creating a birth plan, consider the following questions:
What Would You Like the Labor Environment to Be Like?
Would you like a room with dim lights or one where you can walk around and try different positions? Some couples prefer an environment where their favorite music is playing or a room where a bath and shower are available.
Whom Do You Want to Share This Experience With?
Depending upon the situation or recent events, there may be restrictions around how many people will be allowed with you during the labor and delivery process. This is something to keep in mind when creating your birth plan.
What Would You Like to Aid the Birthing Process?
Some birthing tools, such as a birthing ball, can be effective. In addition, some women find it helpful to walk around the room or change position. Massage can also help ease muscles and soothe pain.
Our Certified Nurse Midwives have a wealth of information on labor and delivery techniques that can help you. Be sure to speak with them when creating your birth plan.
What Type of Pain Relief Would You Like? Or Would You Prefer a Natural Childbirth?
Some women want an epidural or IV pain medication, while others prefer to have none. Others prefer to labor for as long as possible before being administered medication.
This is your personal choice, and there is no right or wrong answer. If you change your mind during the process, it’s important to let us know.
Regardless of your choice, it’s important to make your preference known
What Are Your Plans for the Baby After Birth?
If you have a boy, do you want him to be circumcised? Do you plan to breastfeed? Do you want to cut the umbilical cord?
A part of the birth plan is giving us information about what you want to happen immediately after birth.
Most Importantly, Remember Plans May Change
As we mentioned earlier, every delivery is unique. Sometimes, the unexpected happens, and in that case, we are prepared to help you. However, this could mean that parts of your birth plan may change.
In fact, some women even change preferences once their labor begins. They may decide to opt for pain medication or decide they want to labor in a different position. Don’t give yourself a hard time if the situation prompts you to change your plans.
Regardless of whether your plans change or not, we’ll be there for you. The safety of mother and baby is our first priority. We realize this is a beautiful time for your family, and we will always be your partner through the process.
Get Your Copy of Our Birth Plan
See the link below to get a PDF copy of the birth plan template we use with our patients.
Chapel Hill OBGYN Is the Leader in Personalized Healthcare
Every birth experience is special, whether you’re having your first child or your third. We recognize that and want you to have a voice throughout the journey. Along the way, we’ll be beside you with support, compassion and state-of-the-art care.
Duke Birthing Center
We deliver babies at Duke Regional Hospital, a five-star facility with private birth center rooms, where we’ll follow your birth plan as closely as possible. Its five-star rating means they have received the highest rank possible through the Overall Hospital Star Ratings program by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
See why generations of women have entrusted us with the most important moments in their lives. Contact us for an appointment today.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.