A birthing plan outlines your wishes and preferences for delivery day. If you're a first time parent — be prepared for some surprises, but having a guide allows you to process your choices before your water breaks, and the adrenaline starts pumping. It also ensures ample time to discuss options with your partner and doctor so everyone hears your wishes loud and clear before your delivery room arrival.
- How do you feel about using medication for pain relief in labor? Do you want to try to go without pain medicine, or would you prefer to have anesthesia as early as possible?
- Would you like to be able to labor in a tub or shower, if one is available at your chosen birthing center or hospital?
- Is there anything you want to bring to the hospital? Check the hospital's guidelines about videocameras, music, pillows, lights, etc.
- Who do you want to be present during labor? During delivery? Is there anyone you specifically want kept out of the room?
- What is the role of your coach?
For the rest of the list,
- Is there a particular delivery position or procedure you would like to follow?
- How do you feel about the use of stirrups to brace your legs? If you do not want to use stirrups, who will be with you to help hold your legs when you push?
- Would you like to have a mirror in the room when you are pushing, so you can watch your baby emerge?
- Do you have strong feelings about assisted delivery methods (forceps, vacuum extraction) or cesarean delivery?
- If you have a cesarean, would you like your partner or coach to be present during the surgery?
- Who do you want to cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you want to hold your baby immediately after birth, or do you want her washed and swaddled before you meet her for the first time?
- Do you have specific desires about a bonding period with the baby after birth?
- Do you have strong feelings about receiving a routine IV to replenish your fluids?
- Are you planning to breastfeed? If so, how do you feel about having your baby stay in your room after delivery? Would you like to avoid pacifiers or supplements, unless ordered by your baby’s pediatrician?
- Do you want anyone from the hospital to help you with breastfeeding, or to explain bottlefeeding or other babycare issues?
- Do you want a male baby to be circumcised?