You may have picked the perfect pattern and nursery theme for your little bundle of joy, but have you put that same time and consideration into a birth plan?
What Is a Birth Plan?
The birth plan is a document or outline of how you want your labor and delivery experience to be. It lets us know your preferences and how we can help you.
For example, your birth plan may answer questions such as:
- Who do you want with you in the delivery room?
- Do you want lights dimmed?
- Do you want pain medication or a natural childbirth?
- Do you want special music to help you relax?
- Are there any things you need to make labor more comfortable for you?
Answering these questions enables us to serve you better.
But it’s important to realize that a birth plan is just that—a plan. It’s really an outline of your preferences.
Whenever possible, we’ll honor your wishes. But it’s vital to know that sometimes things don’t always go as expected when you’re having a baby. That’s why it’s essential to be flexible.
10 Tips for Your Labor and Delivery Care Plan
When you’re expecting a baby, there’s a lot on your mind. We know that the thought of creating a labor and delivery care plan may seem overwhelming. That’s’ okay. We’re here to help.
We’re sharing 10 useful tips for creating a birth plan and how you can get started.
1. Discuss the Plan with Your Support Person or Partner
It’s important that your partner is involved in the process. Not only will your partner provide feedback, but they will be able to help communicate your wishes to the care team.
2. Get Input From Your Doctor
Your doctor or nurse-midwife is an excellent source of information. You should speak to them about what your options are and the best way to let them know about it. It’s essential to communicate your preferences to the entire health care team.
3. Make Sure to Cover the Basics
You may be overwhelmed with a lot of topics, so it’s easy to overlook the basics.
Be sure all your bases are covered and that your plan includes:
- The name of your doctor
- Your contact information
- Where you plan to give birth
- Your due date
- Who you want to have in the delivery room with you
Once you get these key points taken care of, then you can get into deeper details.
4. Think about the Environment
Would you rather deliver your baby in a room with dimmer lights? Does soothing music help you? Or perhaps you would rather have a room that is as quiet as possible?
When possible, we’re glad to accommodate these requests. We just ask that you let us know.
5. Consider Photos or Video
Having a baby is exciting! It’s a landmark event in your life and a cause for celebration.
We know you want to have photographs of the occasion. But before you pull out the camera, it’s important to understand the details of our photo policy. These details are there to ensure the safety of both mother and baby
Our policy is that, while we allow still photos, we do not allow video. Feel free to take pictures as long as it does not interfere with medical care.
We suggest that you wait until your baby is born—you’ll have more uninterrupted time for photos with your new family.
We also ask that you avoid taking pictures of your health care providers unless they give permission.
We also do not allow photographs of surgical procedures, and we ask that you stop taking pictures if there is an emergency.
6. Understand the Labor Preferences that Are Available to You
Did you know that you can use a birthing stool or even a chair? Some mothers find that warm showers or baths help ease the labor process. Others find that a birthing ball provides the comfort they need.
You have many options available to you when you are in labor. Just ask your doctor or your nurse-midwife to determine what options you have.
7. Fully Review Pain Management Plans with Your Doctor
Some women want to have an epidural.
Some want to have a natural childbirth.
Some begin labor with the intention of not having medication but change their mind.
All of these are okay.
Pain management is an individual choice and all individuals feel pain and process and experience pain differently.
You may also want to try pain management techniques such as massage and deep breathing.
The main thing is to talk to your doctor. As much as possible, we’ll do what we can to honor your request.
8. Make Sure Others Have Copies of Your Birth Plan
We will work with you when you arrive at our BirthPlace center, but it’s always a good idea to give a copy of your birth plan to your doctor to be included with your medical records.
We also suggest that you have a copy to take to the hospital with you—because depending upon the circumstances surrounding your labor, your regular doctor may not be available and another physician may deliver your baby.
Make sure your support person has a copy as well.
9. It’s Not Too Early to Think About Feeding
We do encourage women to breastfeed when it is possible. We want to know if you want to breastfeed after the baby is delivered or if you prefer bottle feeding?
We know that breastfeeding can be a challenge—that’s why we have a lactation consultant available.
We also offer prenatal breastfeeding classes every month, led by our board-certified lactation consultant nurses. But our caring for you isn’t limited to when you are in the hospital. Our lactation concerns can help you after you’re discharged as long as your physician or midwife writes an order.
10. Explain Your Hopes for the Actual Delivery of Your Baby
Notice we used the word “hopes.” Every delivery is different, and sometimes they don’t go as planned. But we want to honor your wishes as long as they don’t interfere with the outstanding care we want to provide.
So when thinking of your delivery, consider:
- Are you planning a vaginal birth? If so, did you have a previous birth by C-section?
- Do you want a mirror available so you can witness the birth of your baby?
- Do you want your partner or support person to cut the cord?
We realize that things may change, but we would like to have a complete understanding of your wishes.
The BirthPlace at Conway Medical Center
The BirthPlace at Conway Medical Center was designed to provide comfort, privacy and compassionate care. It’s conveniently located right above the patient service entrance. It features:
Two exam rooms
Seven birthing rooms
A C-section room
A 27-bed nursery
A 16-bed postpartum unit
We invite you to contact us to learn more about our labor and delivery care.