Amy's Corner. our lactation consultant answers your questions about nursing.

The Importance of a Birth Plan

Why do I need a birth plan?

birth plan_courtesy of claremontmidwife.comHaving a baby is one of the most exciting and life-changing experiences you can have. You’ve probably dreamed of many of the special moments you’ll have with your new baby, but have you thought about how you want to actually give birth to your little bundle of joy? It’s important to contemplate and make note of your vision for giving birth in a birth plan.  This 1-2 page document outlines your personal desires throughout the entire birth process including labor, delivery and post-partum procedures for both you and your baby.

The first step to creating a birth plan is to discuss your wishes with your partner.  Talk through the type of birth you envision and how you want your baby to enter the world.  Then talk to your OBGYN or practitioner to ensure she understands your desires, and seek her professional recommendations for the safest, healthiest and smoothest birth possible.  Your personal medical profile may dictate some of your options, so be sure to take your physician’s advice into consideration in your birth plan.

What are my options during labor and delivery?

There are many options to consider for your birth plan.  You can specify the people you want to be in your labor & delivery room; amenities such as music or special clothing you’d like to bring; birth props such as a stool or bathtub you’d like to have available; or what pain relief measures you want to employ.  Pain management is a major decision and options include breathing techniques, warm and cool compresses, massage, bathing and medication.

During vaginal delivery, you have options for pushing, including doing so instinctively or being prompted as contractions dictate.  You may want to specify pushing positions, especially if you’re having a natural birth.  Many women like to watch the birth of their babies in a mirror, and some want to have their partners help deliver the baby along side their practitioner.  During c-section, you have the option to partially view the process and have the baby given immediately to your partner.  These are all important details to express in your birth plan.

What choices should I consider for my baby after birth?

Once your new bundle of joy is born, you have several choices for your first few days of interactions with your baby while in the hospital.  You can opt to have all newborn procedures done in your presence or with your partner present, and you’ll have the choice of your baby rooming with you or being taken to the nursery.  If you have other children, you can specify when and where they can see their new baby brother or sister.  And if your baby is a boy, you should make decisions about his circumcision.

breastfeedingOne of the most important choices you will make is how you want to feed your baby.  Many women want to breastfeed their babies right away after birth and research shows this immediate attachment encourages milk production and begins the out-of-womb bonding process.  Even if your baby does not latch during this first breastfeeding session, skin-to-skin contact helps newborns regulate their body temperatures and has a calming effect on baby and mama.  And the closeness, even without latching, will still stimulate milk.  Be clear in your birth plan if you do or do not want your baby to receive formula.  And remember, even if breastfeeding is challenging at first, the colostrum you produce can sustain baby for the first days of his life.

What else should I know?

Your practitioner may have a standard birth plan template or you can download one from popular pregnancy and baby sites such as BabyCenter and The Bump.  Feel free to elaborate important points, but do not be too long-winded because this is meant to be a quick reference when labor and delivery may be progressing rapidly.

Remember that your birth plan is what you ideally wish to happen as you welcome your baby into the world.  Sometimes your health and safety, and that of your baby, will supersede your birth plan.  Be prepared to be flexible and use words like, “it is our wish” or “we hope to be able to” when composing your birth plan.  This will help your mindset of doing whatever is best for you and baby if your birth situation turns critical.

Once you’ve finalized your birth plan, give a copy to your OBGYN or whoever will be the one to deliver your baby.  Having your birth plan in writing will help remind your practitioner of your desires as he or she likely delivers many babies a day!  Also submit a copy to the hospital where you plan to give birth, if applicable, and they will keep it in your file.  And bring a copy with you.  You may not be in the mood to explain your wishes during labor so making sure everyone knows your wishes in advance is wise.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

meet AMY
Submit your own question to be answered.
Please provide us with your name, email address and question, and you may find it as the next featured Q+A on Amy's Corner.
Terms and Conditions.



Search our past Q+A's.
Choose a topic that interests you to view only related Q+A's.

4th of July
academy awards
actress
Alyssa Milano
American Heart Association
anaphylactic shock
Anne Geddes
Ashton Kutcher
babies
babies in pumpkins
babies love music
baby
baby as a pumpkin
baby boy names
baby brains
baby bump
Baby bumps
Baby Care
baby gates
Baby Gender
Baby Gifts
baby girl names
Baby Halloween Costumes
baby name
Baby Names
baby news
baby photography
baby pictures
baby proofing
baby safety
baby schedule
Baby Selfies
Baby Shower
Baby Skin Care
baby sleep schedule
baby sleep training
baby talk
Babymoon Destinations
Babymooning
babywearing
benefits of babywearing
benefits of breastfeeding
best breast pump
best breastfeeding positions
best Mothers Day gifts
best music for babies
best toys for babies
big sister
birth
birth plan
Biting
bleeding gums
Body Acceptance
Bottle Feeding
bottles
boy names
Bra Fit Tips
Breast Cancer Awareness
breast feeding
breast milk
breast milk movies
Breast Milk Production
breast milk storage
breast pump
breast pump flange
breast pump flanges
breast pumps
Breast Reduction and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding Advice
breastfeeding after c-section
Breastfeeding and Baby's Brain
breastfeeding and babywearing
Breastfeeding and Bonding with Baby
breastfeeding and co-sleeping
Breastfeeding and Earth Day
Breastfeeding and Exercise
Breastfeeding and Health Care
breastfeeding and medications
Breastfeeding and Ovulating
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
breastfeeding and pumping
breastfeeding and the working mom
Breastfeeding Benefits
Breastfeeding Classes
breastfeeding diet restrictions
Breastfeeding During the Holidays
Breastfeeding Education
breastfeeding help
Breastfeeding in Public
breastfeeding in sling
breastfeeding issues
breastfeeding latch
breastfeeding latch tips
breastfeeding laws
Breastfeeding Policy
breastfeeding positions
breastfeeding positions lying down
breastfeeding pumping
Breastfeeding Registry
breastfeeding supplies
Breastfeeding Support
Breastfeeding Support Groups
Breastfeeding Tips
breastfeeding tops
bump style
c-section
caesarean section
Caffeine
can pregnant women eat shrimp
cdc
Celebrity
Celebrity Babies
celebrity pregnancies
child.
children
Children's Play
Chris Hemsworth
Christian Bale
Christopher Nolan
cleaning car
Cluster Feeding
co-sleeping
colostrum
colostrum benefits
Comfortable Bras
common pregnancy questions
compression tights
crafts
crafts for kids
Creativity
cuddle
cuddling
Cute Babies
cute maternity clothes
dads
Danah Bordner
delivery
dental health
dentist
dietary restrictions
Dinovember
Doutzen Kroes
Drew Barrymore
Elie Saab
Elsa Pataky
Emily blunt
Extended Breastfeeding
Facebook
family
family bed
family physician
Family Planning
fashion
Father's Day
fda
Fertility Calendar
fish
fish oil
flanges breast pump
Flying While Pregnant
food allergies
food and drug administration
Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding
formal maternity dresses
Fussy Baby
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones HBO
Gender Prediction
Getting Pregnant
Gift Ideas
gifts for mom
girl names
golf
Halloween activities
Halloween activities for babies
hands on pumping
health benefits of breastfeeding
healthy
Healthy Breakfasts
healthy diet
Healthy Eating
Heart disease
holiday schedule
Holidays
Hollywood
homemade gifts
homemade Mothers Day gift ideas
homemade Mothers Day gifts
hospital
Hospital Bag Checklist
how to avoid reflux
how to baby proof
how to breastfeed
how to fall asleep
how to fall asleep fast
how to get rid of stretch marks
how to go to sleep
how to hold baby while nursing
how to keep car clean
how to sleep better
how to sleep train a baby
how to stop breastfeeding
how to stop breastfeeding at night
Illness
Imagination
immune system
In the Media
infant
infant safety
infants
Jason Goldberg
Jason Wu
john krasinski
Just for Fun
keep my car clean
Kerry Washington
Kids
Kraft Nabisco tournament
Kristen Cavallari
Labor Day
lack of sleep
Lactation Consultant
Latching On
laura silverman
Leading Lady nursing bras
leaking breast milk
leaking breasts
leaking nipples
liquid gold
little one
Losing Baby Weight
Losing Weight After Pregnancy
LPGA
LPGA tour
making mom friends
maternity
maternity clothes
maternity dress
maternity dresses
mercury in fish
mercury levels in fish
Mila Kunis
milk movie
Milk Supply
mom
mom friends
moms
mother
Mother's Day
Mothers Day gift ideas
Mothers Day gifts
Mothers Day ideas
music and babies
nameberry baby names
nameberry unusual names
National Breastfeeding Month
National Heart Month
Neonatal
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Nesting
new mom
New Years Resolutions
newborn
newborn photography
newborns
NICU
night weaning
nighttime breastfeeding
Nipple Confusion
nipple pain
nipple pumping
Nipple Soreness
nipples
nursing
nursing bra
Nursing Bras
Nursing Fashion
Nursing Mom's Lifestyle
Nursing Positions
Nursing Supplies
Nursing Tank Tops
nursing wardrobe
nutrition
Old Wives Tale Gender Prediction
Olivia Wilde
omega 3
omega 3 fatty acids
oral thrush
organizing car
Oscar awards
Oscars
Ovarian Cancer Awareness
Parental Guidance
parenting
parents
Paula Garces
peanut allergies
peanut allergy
peanut allergy symptoms
photography
physician
Pregnancy
pregnancy announcement
Pregnancy Calendar
pregnancy changes
pregnancy concerns
pregnancy cravings
pregnancy diet
Pregnancy Discrimination
pregnancy fashion
pregnancy gingivitis
pregnancy health
Pregnancy in the work place
Pregnancy Myths
pregnancy nipples
Pregnancy Stretch Marks
pregnancy workouts
pregnant
Pregnant Belly
pregnant celebrities
pregnant women
Preparing to Breastfeed
progesterone
proper latch
public breastfeeding
Pumping
pumping at work
pumping breast milk
pumpkin
pumpkin activities for babies
reading and smart babies
red carpet
red carpet dresses
Returning to Work
Rh negative
safe drugs while breastfeeding
safe medications for breastfeeding
Scarlett Johansson
seafood
Selfie
Sexy Nursing Bras
Shakespeare
Sheryl Sandberg
simon cowell
sleep
sleep schedule
sleep tips
sleep training methods
sleeping
sleeping in bed with baby
smart babies
soleil moon frye
sound machine
spicy foods
spider veins
spokesmom
Spring Fashion
Storing Breaskmilk
stretch marks
style
Sugar
Sugar substitutes
summer maternity clothes
talking to your baby
Thanksgiving Activities
that 70s show
The Benefits of Music for Babies
The Cost of Breastfeeding
the golden rule
The History of Breastfeeding
thrush
thrush in adults
thrush in babies
thrush symptoms
thrush treatment
tips for sleep training
Traveling
Twins
twitter
unique baby boy names
unique baby girl names
unique baby names
Vacations
Vaccines
Valentine's Day
Valentino
varicose veins
varicose veins treatment
volunteer
volunteering
ways to find other new moms
weaning breastfeeding
weaning from breastfeeding
what is colostrum
what is thrush
what medicines can I take while breastfeeding
white noise machine
wirefree nursing bras
World Breastfeeding Week
yeast diaper rash