Writing Your Birth Plan - 10 Tips from a Doula

It's important to establish your preferences when it comes to your idea birth. Not only will it help you feel more 'in control' and comfortable with decisions being made during labor, but it also gives your doctor, nurses and other medical professionals an idea of your preferences. Here are 10 tips when creating your birth plan:

  1. Include important contact information for all key people involved: names and phone numbers (your own name, partner, obstetrician/midwife, pediatrician, doula, other family members)

  2. Keep it short: 1-2 pages should cover all important information in regards to labor/delivery

  3. Be informed about your choices: be very specific in regards to your preferences when it comes to pain control and labor augmentation (epidural, Pitocin, birthing positions/props)

  4. Include a section regarding your own medical and obstetric history: home medications, allergies, chronic medical conditions, information about prior pregnancies/deliveries, any bouts of herpes/hepatitis/HIV/other STDs - include status (+/-) for Group B Strep and gestational diabetes

  5. Describe your ideal atmosphere: music, lighting, aromatherapy, freedom of movement, number of guests in the room

  6. Express your wishes for delivery: be sure to include preferences regarding a cesarean (should you need one), striping or artificially rupturing membranes, episiotomy, delayed cord clamping, cord blood donation or private cord banking

  7. Incorporate your choices about newborn care: skin-to-skin right away, breastfeeding, antibiotic eye ointment, vitamin K, baby's first bath, hepatitis vaccine

  8. Include requests for postpartum care: specific pain medications, choice of laxative/stool softeners

  9. Discuss your birth preferences with your obstetrician or midwife during a prenatal appointment

  10. Remember, no birth goes exactly as planned, be flexible!

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