Women usually experience the late-pregnancy jitters as they progress into the third trimester of pregnancy. As much as they look forward to the arrival of their little one, they dread those hours in the labor and delivery room. There are so many questions in their mind, but they do not know who to look up to for the answers.

This is where a child birth plan completes the picture like a missing piece of a jigsaw puzzle. It helps keep you prepared for all the “whys, buts and what…ifs” to come.

So, here’s explaining what a child birth plan exactly is. Also find tips to write your own child birth plan.

What is a child birth plan?

A child birth plan is a written document expressing the expecting parents’ preferences for labor and birth. This is not be mistaken for a legal contract that binds you to follow all the clauses listed therein. It is a more concise way of letting the medical staff know about your needs, priorities and preferences. This document is attached in the woman’s medical file and carried to the hospital at the time of delivery.

One need not follow the complete birth plan as it is. You can alterations even at the last minute. The main purpose of preparing a child birth plan is to make a woman feel in control and prepared for the labor and delivery to follow in the couple of weeks. A child birth plan also makes the process of labor and delivery comfortable to a certain extent.

A birth plan should be prepared by the expectant parents in consultation with their doctors or midwives. Doctors not only answer questions posed by first-time parents but also raise questions and make the couple aware of issues and situations they are not aware and may arise during the birthing process.

What does a child birth plan typically consist of?

There is no hard and fast rule regarding the contents of a child birth plan. Following are some of the commonly included questions:

  • Location of the birth – At home or at a hospital
  • Pain management preferences – Do you wish to use pain relief medications like an epidural or do you opt for natural coping techniques
  • The delivery plan: Vaginal, C-section, VBAC or Water Birth
  • The atmosphere of the birthing room – Specify preferences regarding the type and number of lights you want to use, whether or not you want some soothing music, massage devices or a birth ball.
  • Items you would like to carry along – The hospital provides you gowns and other items. However, if you wish to carry your own nightgown or a pair of slippers you should mention it in your birth plan.
  • Who will accompany you in the delivery room – You will need to determine who will come along with you into the delivery room and support you during labor- your husband, boyfriend, mother, sister or aunt.
  • Whether you would like to have the birth photographed or recorded (this is optional. Some hospitals do not allow it).
  • Medical concerns if any
  • Alternatives in case of unexpected events such as in case you need a C-section when a vaginal birth was planned.
  • Positions during delivery- Specify whether you would prefer Walking, squatting, standing, on fours, lying on the back, lying on the side, or using a support bar.
  • Immediate child care- who will cut the umbilical cord, who will hold the baby first and whether you would like to breastfeed immediately.

Tips to write an effective child birth plan

Writing out a birth plan is not difficult.

  • Although in reality it is a list of demands, do not make it sound so. Use polite language and make it sound like a request.
  • The Birth plan should be brief and concise.
  • The use of bullet points makes reading easier and more convenient for medical practitioners and nurses.
  • Instead of writing down your birth plan type it out.
  • Visit the labor and delivery unit and enquire about the available options for postpartum care and newborn care at the hospital.
  • You can model your birth plan based on sample birth plans available online. But make sure you use the most recent ones and then have it checked by your doctor.
  • You could also use the interactive birth plan creators available online.

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