A birth plan is a way to prepare for your baby's birth and the first few days of his or her life. While the specifics of each birth plan will depend on the wishes of the parents, they usually include things like birthing techniques, pain management, baby feedings, and so on.
A lot of first-time moms find themselves asking the same question: Do I need a birth plan?
The answer isn't always so simple. It's completely up to you whether or not to invest time in creating a birth plan. Your baby will come whether or not you create a specific step-by-step process, but it puts many parents' minds at ease! In this guide, we'll share the benefits of having a birth plan as well as how to make your own.
Why Make a Birth Plan?
Why bother with a birth plan in the first place? The biggest reason is simply to have everything organized.
Making your own birth plan is a great way to organize your thoughts not only for your labor but also for your baby's initial care. Your birth plan can also be made with your midwife or doctor to help you decide what's best for you.
For first-time parents, a birth plan brings a lot of peace of mind. The time leading up to labor might make you anxious, especially if you've never had a baby before. A birth plan makes sure you know exactly what will happen when that time does come.
Birth Plan Alternatives
If you decide you'd rather not have a formal birth plan, that's okay too. As long as you're communicating with your partner, your family, and your doctor, you can make sure your voice is heard.
Make sure you have an open conversation with your partner about your expectations for labor and delivery. As long as he or she is aware of your wishes, they can be your advocate alongside your healthcare team.
How to Make a Birth Plan
If you've decided a birth plan is right for you, it's easy to get started. Your doctor or your birthing center likely has a birth plan you can use that's specific to their practice. If not, you can find free birth plan templates online or just make your own.
Make sure to save your birth plan somewhere safe. This should ideally be in your hospital bag, but you can also store a backup on your phone or email for safekeeping.
Here are key areas to include in your birth plan:
- Delivery room - What requests would you like to make for the room itself? Do you want the lighting to be dim, a cold temperature, or specific music? In addition, who do you want to be allowed with you in the delivery room?
- Pain management - How would you like to work through your labor pain?
- Baby monitoring - How do you want the birth care team to monitor your baby's heart rate during labor? This is typically through a monitor attached to your abdomen, but there are other options as well.
- Birthing options - What techniques would you like to use to help you through the labor process?
- Medical interventions - What medical interventions are you open to if you have a choice?
- Religious or cultural traditions - Do you want to include any religious or cultural traditions in the delivery process?
- Umbilical cord - Who will be cutting the umbilical cord?
- Baby care - Finally, what are your baby care preferences? How will the baby be fed, will your baby stay in the room after delivery, etc.
Are You Prepared for Labor?
Your birth plan can be part of your preparations for labor. From making sure you have everything in your hospital bag to preparing your home for baby, you don't want to forget any important steps.
Do you have the right products to treat and repair your body after delivery? Here are some of our must-haves:
- SOS Labor Recovery Sitz Bath and Scrub for soothing your body once you're home
- Hospital Libs Moisturizing Lip Scrub to avoid painful, chapped hospital lips
- Boobie Smoothie Softening Scrub to ease tender, sore breasts
Whether you choose to make your own birth plan or skip it altogether is up to you. There's no right way to prepare for labor. Just make sure you know what's right for you!