I'm not writing a birth plan, but I always encourage my doula clients to write one, especially those giving birth in the hospital. I'm planning on going into more detail about how I want things to happen with my midwife over the next few visits. But, we are pretty much always on the same page, so I don't think I need to write it all out.
Here is the sample birth plan I use with my clients who are planning a natural hospital birth:
Birth Plan for …
This birth plan is intended to express my preferences and desires immediately before, during, and after the birth of my baby. I understand that situations may arise such that my plan cannot be followed. However, barring a true emergency, I request that the medical staff keep me informed, and give me the time to consider my options fully before any decision is made.
I plan to be accompanied by my (partner/husband/doula) for the entirety of the labor and delivery period. I may have (family/other visitors) present at the hospital, but I request that they remain outside of the room until my baby is born, and I have had adequate time to initiate nursing.
First Stage of Labor
I plan to stay at home, accompanied by my (partner/ husband/ doula), for as long as possible. When I arrive at the hospital, the following things are important to me:
- A quiet environment, dim lights, and as few interruptions during early labor as possible
- Do NOT offer pain medication; I would like to have a non-medicated birth
- As few medical interventions as possible; I would like to have time to consider all of my options before any decisions are made on behalf of myself or my unborn baby.
- As few vaginal exams as possible
- Fetal monitoring by doppler only, or if not possible, intermittent fetal monitoring
- Freedom to move around room, change positions, and utilize the shower/ bath for pain management
- I will utilize massage, cold/hot packs, position changes, movement, hydrotherapy, guided relaxation, acupressure, and music to manage my pain and discomfort during labor:
Second Stage Labor (Pushing)
During the pushing phase of labor, the following things are important to me:
- Freedom to choose the position that feels right to me
- If progress if being made during the pushing stage, I would like as much time as possible to get the baby out naturally, without interventions such as vacuum extraction, forceps or cesarean section
- I would like to be able to spontaneously bear down during contractions
- I prefer a tear to an episiotomy, but I would like my medical provider to do aid me in stretching the perineum with warm compresses, counter pressure and positioning, so that I may avoid tearing
After my baby is born, the following things are important to me:
- Delay cutting the umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsating
- I would like my baby immediately placed on my chest, so that I may begin to bond with him.
- Any non-emergency procedures will be delayed until I have had time to bond with and begin nursing my baby
- I plan to exclusively breastfeed; Please do NOT give my baby bottles or pacifiers
- I would like to remain with my baby at all times; In the event of an emergency, either myself, my (partner, husband, doula), or a designated family member will accompany my baby at all times
In the event of an emergency, I would like to be informed of all of my options, and given adequate time (if possible) to consider these options without pressure from the medical staff.
Thank you for taking the time to read my birth plan and becoming familiar with the preferences that I have for the labor and birth of my baby.
(Signature of Mother) (Signature of Doctor/Midwife)
Feel free to use/copy/borrow any or all of it. I like this one because it all fits on one page, which means the doctor *might* actually read all of it.