Why You Need a Birth Plan | Revere Health

Pregnancy is a long-term process, and one of the most important things a soon-to-be mother can do is create a birth plan. Your birth plan includes your preferences for how you want to deliver your baby and helps encourage positive communication between you and your caregivers.

Why are they important?

A birth plan is a great way to ensure everyone on your care team is on the same page when the time comes for you to give birth. Creating your birth plan can also help you learn more about your birthing options.

Generally, there are three primary areas covered by a birth plan:

  • Your wishes for normal delivery: This includes your preferences for pain relief, who will be present for the birth, the environment you want to have your baby in, etc.
  • Baby care after birth: You’ll have several options in terms of care for the baby after birth, including who cuts the umbilical cord, whether you’ll breastfeed, where the baby sleeps and more. You’ll be able to go over hospital or birth center policies as well.
  • What to do in unexpected circumstances: In cases where something goes wrong, it’s important to have a plan in place. Most birth plans will cover wishes in case of cesarean sections or other complications.

How do I start?

You don’t have to create your birth plan from scratch; there are many standard templates out there—both at hospitals and online. It’s smart to go over this with a few people closely involved in the process, including your doctor or care provider, who can help with any medical areas that require specific attention.

What should I include?

Here are several important areas to include in the birth plan:

  • The birthing environment: Who will be present at birth, where the birth will take place, which type of medical professional will assist in the birth, the atmosphere of the delivery and certain procedures used during labor (things like induction, shaving or enemas).
  • Pain management or medication: This is something you should discuss with your care provider. Be aware of when you’re allowed to change your mind and when it’s too late to do so.
  • Natural or assisted birth: You can go over whether natural birth is possible and create a backup plan if it becomes unsafe.
  • Post-birth: There are several important things to consider after you give birth, including who cuts the cord, whether you want to hold your baby before or after it is cleaned, how the placenta is handled or kept, whether you will breastfeed, etc.

It’s important to remember to be flexible when creating a birth plan. In some cases, your medical needs might limit parts of your birth plan. Talk with your doctor to understand the reasons behind these limitations and learn if factors in your pregnancy might prevent certain choices being available to you.

Your doctor can offer further recommendations when it comes to creating a birth plan.

I practice the full range of family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine and some orthopedics. I also perform colposcopy, cryotherapy and vasectomies. Due to the volume of deliveries we do, my practice has evolved to be more centered on women and children’s medicine, although I enjoy all aspects of family medicine.

Sources:

“The importance of a birth plan.” The Mayo Clinic. https://mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/the-importance-of-a-birth-plan

“Birth Plans.” KidsHealth.org. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/birth-plans.html

 

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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