How to do a birth plan?

Amanda - posted on 09/22/2011 ( 19 moms have responded )

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How do i do a birth plan? What should i put in a birth plan?

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User - posted on 09/26/2011

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Being a L&D nurse, I would encourage you not to have a birth plan written out. Yes, it is nice to know what you would like or not like to do in your mind, such as : pain relief options, baby to belly?, visitors during labor, etc. But please have an open mind about your labor and birthing process because there are too many variables during the labor and birth process that might need to be done that would deviate from a stringent birth plan. You need to be flexible and open minded that however this baby is born that you have been blessed with a healthy baby no matter what it took to deliver this blessing. If you have a strict idea of how you want your labor and birth experence to happen, you are only setting yourself up for failure in your mind if it doesn't go exactly what you wanted or expected.

Amanda - posted on 09/24/2011

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I will tell you frankly, as a labor and delivery nurse- your doctors and nurses absolutely hate birth plans. This is due to the majority of birth plans having unreasonable expectations. That being said, you need to consider what is important to you. If I have a patient that comes in and says she wants a birthing ball, great, I do not have a problem with that. I try to accomodate my patients the best I can, within the policies and guidelines of my hospital and doctors orders. For example, if you are induced, you have to be on the baby monitor. This is for the safety of your baby. Sometimes babies don't tolerate the medicine, and if you are not on the monitor, then we don't know, and can't take appropriate actions, such as turning off the medication, turning you over, etc. Remember if your nurse is telling you that you need to do something, it is for the safety of your baby. Talk to your doctor about their preferences during labor- for example, I work with 1 doc who does not use IV pain meds, its epidural or nothing, while there is another doc who will not let his pts get an epidural until they are 7cm. This is the biggest factor in how you will labor and deliver. Next remember that hospitals and nurses are held accountable for upholding certain standards. We have do draw blood, you have to have an IV, now depending on your doctor, there doesn't necessarily have to be anything hooked up to it, but we need access in case of emergencies. You don't want to need an emergency c-section or be bleeding out, and then have us try to get IV access. That precious delay of time can mean the difference between life and death, an ICU admission, or getting to go home together. If dad wants to cut the cord- wonderful, we encourage it, but if it is a c-section- not going to happen, he would contaminate the sterile field and introduce bacteria into your system, again- not good. Sometimes baby is not doing well right after birth and cannot be placed right on your tummy/chest. There is nothing wrong with having a birth plan, just be realistic, open minded, and be open to change if necessary. Things I would recommend for a birth plan- epidural or IV pain meds or both, running IV, episiotomy or tearing, cutting the cord, baby to chest after delivery, birth ball and rocking chair, immediate breast feeding if possible, delaying of eye ointment and vit k shot. All of these are doable, again if there are no problems. Whatever you decide to do, please don't just download a birth plan from the internet and not read it before going in to the hospital. I don't know how many moms I have taken care of that didn't really know what was on their birth plan.

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Dianne - posted on 11/08/2011

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i do recommend having a birth plan but keep it basic and realise that your birth very rarely reads it lol, i had one mainly to let them know that i didnt want drugs etc and would prefer not to have the monitors on etc, saying that i went in and there are compromises that can sometimes suit both parties, i had the monitors on from word go as they were not comfortable in me not having them in my situation and so had the one that you can pick up and carry around, i by no way had the impression they would follow it completely before i went in so was not disappointed when not everything turned out the way id hoped but it was nice (for me) to not be offered drugs i didnt want, and if i had wanted something while there i have no doubt it would have been given had i asked for it. open mind is the key, also if you do decide to take one with you keep it short and sweet, they wont bother to read a novel :)

Sheree - posted on 11/03/2011

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I had a basic birth plan my first time around and pretty much ended up having to through it all out the window, since I ended up having to have a emergency c-section after 4 hours of pushing and being in labor for over 24 hours. The second time around we had planned a c-section so I didn't make a birth plan at all and ended up having an emergency vaginal birth. This time I'm not really planning for anything, because you can do all the planning in the world and it (with my luck at least) will probably be completely opposite of what you want.

Keri - posted on 10/01/2011

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Think about how you want to have your baby. Do you want to use drugs? Would you rather have a C-section than labor? Do you want a water birth? Etc. Write it all out and present it to your doctor. Talk about it and ask if the hospital/birthing center/whatever has the means to do these things. Keep in mind though: when you get there and things start happening, your plan may go out the window in order to help you or the baby have a successful delivery.

Frances - posted on 09/27/2011

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It all depends upon what kind of birth you want. You need to read about different methods and decide which one appeals to you. For instance, I used the Bradley method, so I put in specifics about that method such as: no routine episiotomy, no IV, no pitocin, no electonic monitor, and I wented to eat and drink during labor. Your birth plan should actually be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible so you have time to change doctors and places of birth if they oppose your birth plan.

Donna - posted on 09/26/2011

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Look at some sample birth plans online. The Birth Book by Dr. Sears is a very informative book. My baby is 22 months old. She was my 1st baby & I was 42 years old (high rish). I was determined to have natural childbirth. I chose to have a Doula and after much searching I found a CNM who worked at hospital. That is the best of both worlds. The CNM allowed me to have a completely natural childbirth; no monitors! I was not confined to a bed or a machine. One factor that allowed my natural birth was laboring at home with a doula. (8 hours at home; 1 hour in route & 3 hours at hospital). Making a birth plan helped me tremendously. I knew exactly what I did & did not want. However I was prepared to discard any part of the plan if medically necessary. During my pregnancy I learned that most Doctors & Nurses do not agree with natural childbirth, Doula's, Midwives, or birth plans. That did not stop me. My baby & I had a wonderful labor & delivery. Again I highly recommend The Birth Book. It will help you with your birth plan. Most people put more into planning their vacation than into childbirth. Remember if you fail to plan, plan to fail. You are doing the right thing by planning this priceless experience in your life. And of course be prepared to put the plan aside if necessary. Wishing you the best!

Kylie - posted on 09/25/2011

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my birthplan went straight out the window !! i was yelling at the nurse to not stab me with the pethadine after being already exhausted after 24hrs full labour, and she did so when I was turned . I told them I wanted an epidural and the nurses kept holding me off. have your birthing partner near you to make sure you know what you want, because in the heat of the moment the nurses dont always listen to a pain stricken mother. I planned to breast feed, and I ended up having to drag down a training nurse (after emergency c-section, and 4 days of the baby not feeding or sleeping) because It was on my plan, none of the midwives would give me formula. Be persistant with what you want, because with the change over of staff, they sometimes miss things that have happened, and dont look at reports. I had a really horrible experience with my hospital birth, and nothing went to plan, and it is heart breaking, though in the end all that matters is the health of your new baby

Suzanne - posted on 09/25/2011

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Well i put down what drugs i preferred to use and what i didn't want to use. Then i wrote down pieces of equipment i wanted to use in the room like a swiss ball for instance. I also would put down that you would like a uni student nurse to help you as i found that they are brilliant, i don't think i would have been able to cope without one. Second time around things went very smoothly for me. So birthing plans do work sometimes.

Bernadette - posted on 09/25/2011

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my birth plan was a piece of paper that they gave me at the hospital to fill out. It had questions on it that I had to answer, such as what pain relief I wanted (or might be willing to try if the pain got more unbearable than anticipated), what positions I would like to try, what birth aids (such as gym ball, bean bags, aromatherapy, relaxation music, etc), who I wanted present, what intervention I might be willing to try should the need arise (forceps, c-section, etc). It is basically just a guideline for what you want to happen during the birth process, for the hospital staff's reference. It doesn't have to be detailed, and they will usually do one with you in your antenatal visits. In the end, it didn't matter for me anyway because I wasn't able to try different positions due to having to be on a heart-trace monitor to check for distress in the baby, so I had to lie flat on my back. Both times it ended in emergency c-sections anyway. But really, it's just a guideline so that the staff know what you want to try, and also gives them the opportunity to explain your options and the benefits of each prior to the birth.

Sherri - posted on 09/24/2011

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You can have a birth plan but DO NOT get so wrapped up in it that you can't do anything different if things don't go as planned. I personally am not for birth plans as rarely does it go down the way you intend.

September - posted on 09/23/2011

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A birth plan? What's that? :) I would suggest you just go with an open mind and ready for whatever comes your way. That's the best birth plan imo. Birthing classes are nice, they help to give you an idea of what to expect. Good luck!

Bonnie - posted on 09/23/2011

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I never had a birth plan for either of my first two. We are trying for a third and I won't have one for this one either. I would rather see how things go. Often those who have set birth plans never get to follow through with them anyways. Just have in your mind what you would like to happen if anything. It would probably be easier for you if you don't have a set birth plan anyway because if something needs to be done differently then you would have liked it will be harder on you if you have it set in stone.

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I actually spoke with a hospital nurse who wrote it all out and had it on a purple paper (so that it stuck out in the file). I still brought a copy with me just in case.

I basically told them what I'd like to have in the room to help with labor and after; ie birthing ball, rocking chair. I told them that I wanted to be able to walk around, so despite the fact that I would have an IV (I'm a hard stick so I wasn't going to fight the IV). This hospital even had a remote monitoring system so they could keep track of the baby's heartrate and the contractions while I was walking around.

I wanted to wait on an epidural as long as possible. But for them to let me know when the last chance to get it time came. I wanted to avoid a c-section as much as possible, and for them to do one only as a last option (which happened).

I was planning on breastfeeding and I didn't want any formula to be offered. I also let them know that my husband would be with me the entire time (more of an FYI than anything) and that my mom would be present for the delivery.

Amy - posted on 09/22/2011

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I did not have a birth plan written out, but I'm also the type of person that just likes to see how things are going to go. I had a general idea of what I wanted and my husband knew as well, like for instance I didn't want anyone in the room with us while giving birth, I was going to try and do natural but was not opposed to pain relief. I ultimately had an epideral with both kids and very easy labor experiences. For me personally I didn't want to say this is how I want everything to go because ultimately it may not go that way and I know some moms get very depressed by that. I also had a lot of respect and trust for my doctor and knew she wasn't going to put me or my baby in harms way. Write one if that's what is going to help make the process easier for you but remember things don't always go the way we would like them to!

Michelle - posted on 09/22/2011

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My birth plans never got out of my bag for any of my births :-). I don't think I even did one for #3.
Just make sure you write in how you would like the birth to go. If you would like drugs or and epidural make sure people know.
The 1 thing that I didn't want was an epi but was open to whatever else they could offer.
Just make sure that you are flexible with it. Don't go in thinking this is the only way my birth will go because chances are it will be different from what you've planned.

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