When you’re pregnant, you hear a lot about birth plans. And after a quick Google search, you may end up more confused than when you started. Do you need a birth plan? What IS a birth plan? And how do you start one?
We’ve heard your questions and we’re here to help. Courtney Dodd, BSN, RNC-OB, IBCLC is one of Brookwood Baptist Medical Center’s Birth Navigators and it’s her job to help expectant mothers navigate their way through pregnancy and birth. From helping pick the best prenatal classes to developing a birth plan, she’s there every step of the way. Here are her tips:
Any mom can have a birth plan – it’s not just for unmedicated births.
Whether you’re planning on going unmedicated, or not, you can make a birth plan if you want one. If you don’t want one, then don’t feel pressured to make one.
Start by doing lots of research.
Research is such a crucial part to making a great birth plan. Look at resources that give you recommendations based on evidence-based practices – they will be the most helpful in making informed decisions about your birth. I would discourage moms from looking at too many “opinion” based websites and social media pages as every pregnancy, labor, and delivery are different and this can be very overwhelming at times.
Figure out your main goal for labor and birth.
Whether it be an unmedicated labor and delivery, a vaginal delivery, or a family centered cesarean section, knowing where you want to end up is the key to making a good birth plan. By having this end goal in mind, you’ll be able to create a plan that best fits you.
Limit your plan to 2 pages at most.
Before you start writing, think about the two or three big picture items that are most important to you. Are you wanting to use the water labor tub? Don’t want any visitors? Those things that you decide are the most important to you are the framework for your plan – starting from these can make it easier. Just remember not to choose too many, as they can make your birth plan overly complicated.
Remember to keep an open mind.
While it may be called a birth plan, it actually functions as birth preferences list. Keep an open mind and be flexible; as with many life experiences, labor and birth are unpredictable. While our doctors and nurses try their absolute best to follow your plan, sometimes medical issues interfere. Be prepared just in case.
Visit a Birth Navigator.
Pregnancy is tough! We are here to help guide expecting moms through the process of pregnancy because there is a lot of information out there. We have a pre-made birth plan guide to help you if you would like and we will send it to your physician for you. I also encourage you to come to childbirth classes or an unmedicated birth class to learn more about the process. We incorporate so many things that are usually listed on birth plans already at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center, like skin-to-skin immediately after birth for term, healthy newborns, we are initiating breastfeeding within the first hour after birth, and support rooming-in 24 hours a day.
Talk to your doctor.
Possibly the most important step is the last one – talk to your doctor. They will be able to help you work through your plan. Informing your physician is also important so that they know your wishes and can support your preferences wherever possible.
Hopefully you’re now ready to start building your birth plan! Schedule a Birth Navigator appointment at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center by clicking here.
Your health is too important to leave to chance. Let us help you find the physician that’s right for you.