“Wait… I need a ‘Birth Plan?’ Isn’t the plan to … give birth?”

When I signed up for the Bradley Birth Method class, we had no idea of the number of interventions possible during labor & birth/delivery, much less our opinion on most of them. My husband, Daniel, and I mostly wanted to avoid an epidural… and honestly, before the class, it was mostly because I was scared of the possible side effects I had heard of (infection and paralysis, though rare, are among them).

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During our 12 week course we were educated on preparing for a natural birth, the possible interventions during labor, and how to advocate for ourselves during the process. This was so helpful because when an intervention was offered early in labor, we knew the questions to ask regarding benefit, risk, alternatives, and what would happen if we did nothing.

We also wrote our own birth plan to share with nurses when we arrived at the hospital. This wasn’t the final word on our decisions, as things change during delivery, especially in the case of emergency, but we felt better prepared to face challenges because we had an idea of the kind of labor we wanted and how to achieve it.

The basic outline of our birth plan included:

  • Our names
  • Our OB/GYN’s name
  • (Can include doula’s name if you have one)
  • Due date
  • Place of Birth
  • Goal: Healthy outcome for mother & baby
    • This is especially important to remember as you are faced with various decisions–remember that a c-section isn’t “worst case;” if it’s necessary to ensure safety then it’s best!
  • Overview:
    • Why did you choose this OB & hospital? Reputation for low rate of C-section? For good outcomes for natural birth?
    • We have prepared for this birth physically, mentally & emotionally
      • The best birth plan includes planning throughout the pregnancy by preparing for the marathon that is labor!
    • We have taken the time to educate ourselves on childbirth and have made the
      following choices after much research and thought.

      • You’ve researched these interventions & know what you’d like — and what you’d like to avoid!
    • We realize that a situation may arise that would cause us to deviate from the plan, but would appreciate your assistance in making this the best possible birthing experience for all involved.
  • List of procedures/possible interventions & your PREFERENCE — understanding this can change depending on the situation, of course! Research these and determine what your preference is.
    • Fetal monitoring
    • IV/heparin lock
    • Vaginal exams
    • Augmentation
    • Pain relief
    • Amniotomy
    • Cesarean
    • Episiotomy
    • Informed consent — always ask BRAIN — Benefit, Risk, Alternatives, other Info, what if we do Nothing?
    • Cord cutting – delayed? Who will cut it?
    • Circumcision
    • Breastfeeding – immediate?
    • Separation/rooming in – can request all initial procedures performed in room or delayed
    • Eye drops

What else did you have/are you including on your birth plan? Let me know in comments below!


Photography: Jessica Rockowitz Photography + Film


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