Apart from preparing everything for a baby’s arrival and packing to a hospital, you should consider how exactly you would like to give birth to your child. This is why you need a birth planner, or birth plan checklist. Sounds odd, what is there to consider? In fact, there are plenty of things that you can plan ahead to make your labour much easier and let other people worry about the whole process. Birth plans for first time moms are especially helpful.
Let us introduce some of the most important birth plan ideas, and show you how to write a birth plan. Some countries do not have a birth plan template, they invite you to make one. In this case, it would be very helpful for you to download our free birth plan checklist. You can print it out and then write your preferences.
Why do you need a birth plan?
Birth plan for first time moms and in general will help your doctor or midwife to understand your preferences and prepare everything you asked for in advance, so you could have a very smooth delivery. It will also help your doctor learn some of your concerns or issues that may arise during the labour. Regardless of you being awake, the birth plan will speak for you immediately.
How to make a birth plan
Here is the list of things to include in birth plans for first time moms. Please, download the birth plan checklist to see a detailed list of options and choose your preference.
- The place you would like to give birth at. It could be a hospital, your home, or birth center.
- A person, your companion, you would like to share this special moment with. It should be the one you trust, the one who helps you to go through the whole process and be your support at all times.
- A permission for your companion to present during a forceps or vacuum delivery.
- A permission for your companion to present during a caesarean section.
No matter whether your partner or companion wishes to be there with you, they should know about possible risks and be asked if they can handle certain things. It is highly recommended for both of you to discuss the details with the doctor/ midwife, ask all necessary questions and set your expectations.
- Birthing equipment you would like to be available during labour. Each place is different, you should ask your doctor what is available at the specific hospital and what equipment you may bring with you, such as a TENS machine unit. In general, birthing equipment is wall bars, mats, beanbags, a fit ball and/or delivery stool, etc.
- Special facilities. You should ask if your hospital has special facilities, such as a birthing pool. This is if you decide to have a water birth, which is definitely a worthwhile option to consider. Enquire whether your hospital offers LDRP rooms, t.i. labour – delivery – recovery – postnatal rooms.
- Decide how you would like your baby’s heartbeat monitored.
- Decide if you would like to keep active during labour, this means walking or moving around normally.
- Decide the positions you are comfortable with during labour and birth. They include sitting, standing, kneeling, squatting, lying, etc.
- Consider skin-to-skin contact. Would you like your baby to be delivered straight on your tummy or do you prefer him/her being cleaned first?
- Decide whether you would like other midwives, nurses, or doctors in training to be present or not.
- Pain relief options. There are quite a few options for you to consider. These methods may help you to relax, breathe better and get through labour easier. For example, you can request being in water during labour and/ or birth, you can use a TENS machine unit, you can try massage or gas and air.
Depending on your labour, there are stronger options, such as pain-relieving injections, or epidural. If you put them as your preferences, we’d advise you to consult your doctor at the time of necessity.
- Suggest your preferences and feelings about episiotomy.
- Decide how you would like your placenta to be delivered after the birth, t.i. naturally or with the help of an injection. Normally, it will take about an hour for placenta to come out without any interference, and then you can be cleaned up. Otherwise, you can receive an injection and get rid of the placenta within five to ten minutes after the birth. Please, discuss this with your doctor or midwife prior.
- Decide on how you would like to feed your baby, e.g. breastfeed, bottle feed, or a mixture of both. If you plan on bottle feeding, make sure you bring everything you need with you. But don’t worry, the midwife or lactation nurse will help your baby to latch properly as well as you to find the right position.
- Consider giving vitamin K to your baby. If you would like to give vitamin K to your baby, there are a couple of options on how to do this. You can give consent to a midwife to give vitamin K through one single injection. Alternatively, you can give drops. There are several times when you should give the drops, so you will need to ask for a prescription and give them to your baby after you leave the hospital. These options also should be discussed with your doctor or midwife prior.
Other things to consider would be
- Don’t break waters
- Minimal cervical checks
- Do not share dilation
- No continues fetal monitoring
- Lighting preference
- Music/ meditations
- Breathing technics
- Counter pressure massage/ Reflexology
- Mirror to see baby’s head
- Delayed cord clamp
- Partner cutting cord
- Gender reveal notes
- Delay baby tests
- Leave vernix intact and delay bath
- Pacifier preference
- Save placenta
Finally, let your doctors and midwives know if you have any special requirements, such as language interpreters, dietary requirements, any special needs you and/or your partner need assistance with, certain religious customs or traditions to be taken into account, etc.
Have an amazing labour and birth! You are soon to be the greatest parents there will ever be!
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