A birth plan is a document in which you write down your wishes and expectations for your birth. It states in short sentences what these wishes are. Before you give birth, discuss this document with your caregivers and counselors.
In the birth plan you state what you find important, what your ideas and wishes are and how you would like them to be treated. It is a way to discuss with your partner what your expectations are of the birth and of each other during and around the birth. It is also important for your obstetrician or gynecologist to know what you expect during birth and what you expect from them. By discussing the plan together, it also becomes a realistic plan. During your birth you sometimes change care providers, who then know by your birth plan what is important to you. It is also useful to write something about who you are and how you would like to be approached.
You have many choices regarding your birth. Consider, for example, what kind of atmosphere or environment you want to give birth to, how you want to deal with pain, who you want to have with you, how you want to go through with your child and how much information you want to get during the birth. By making a birth plan, the pros and cons of the various options are often better discussed with you and you become involved in the choices that can be made.
Below you will find numerous of points to think about, to delve into and which you can include in your birth plan. It is explicitly not the intention to include them all in your own birth plan! This list is primarily intended to inspire things that resonate with you, that you / you might find important or that you would like to delve into even more while it is still possible.
Where do you prefer to give birth?
- In the hospital
Who do you want to have with childbirth?
- Can a midwife, doctor or nurse be trained during your birth?
- Daycare for any older children
Peace, environment and privacy
- Light in the room
- Don’t talk softly
- Do not use the telephone
- Nursing and midwives who come in and out (knock first?)
- Clothing on and off and which clothes do you want to wear?
Your partner and his role
- Where would you prefer your partner to be during opening up and where when the baby is born?
- What do you want him to do and what not?
- Support, hand holding, massage, washcloth etc.
- Communicate and monitor the birth plan
If given birth at the hospital
- What do you take with you?
- What is the shortest route?
- Take your birth plan with you
- Daycare for any older children
- How are you going and when?
About the disclosure, claim and vaginal touch
- There are different visions of childbirth support: Preventive Support of Labor (giving birth within 12 hours) or a more expectant vision. What appeals to you?
- What is it like for you to check for progression every few hours?
- Progress information: how do you expect you to deal with it? (disappointment / relief)
- How does touch feel for you? (have you ever had an internal examination? For example, with a smear)
- Are there extra things that need to be taken into account (for example sexual abuse in the past)?
- Do you want to give your permission to check your dilation? Or do you want to check for yourself?
- Waiting for fully dilation with the urge to push? What is the disadvantage or advantage?
- Positions and freedom of movement: what do you think is nice and do you want to be encouraged to change your posture?
- Functions of the membranes during birth
- Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of artificial breaking by the caregiver?
- Do you know the pros and cons of waiting for spontaneous breaking?
- Do you want to give permission beforehand for the artificial breaking of the membranes? Or doesn’t it matter to you?
If your birth does not start well, or does not start ‘on time’, or if the contractions are diminishing: what do you want to do?
- Introduction / extra stimulation: when or not?
- Emotional support / coaching
- Try posture changes
- Rest / sleep
- Make love / hug / kiss
- Just be alone (with or without partner)
- Pain relief
- Acupuncture / shiatsu / reflex zone therapy
- Rebozo massage
- Membranes brakes
- Do you want that or not?
- Do you want the asset to be offered during birth or not?
- Do you know what types of pain relief are possible?
- Do you know what is needed before and during pain relief (CTG video, drip)
- Do you want to move to the hospital for pain relief if you want to give birth at home?
- Which preferred position: squatting, bar stool, supine position, lateral position, standing, on hands and knees?
- Follow body or coached pushing
- HypnoBirthing method
- Pelvic floor support: may the caregiver ‘help’ by pressing on your pelvic floor in the vagina?
- Water birth: if you want to use a birth bath (interested in a birth bath, ask about the possibilities, through my contact page), do you also want to push it and let the baby be born?
- How often do you listen (after every contraction?)
- Silence in the room (no talking, no excitement)?
- Feeling or looking for yourself (using a mirror) at the birth of the head
- Will the baby be ‘developed‘, or will it be born spontaneously?
- Do you want to catch your child or your partner yourself?
- When the baby is born, do you want to have the time to recover and choose your own moment to touch and pick up your baby?
- Or do you want your child to be immediately notified or placed on your stomach?
- Making pictures?
- Do you want to wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsating and for how long?
- What if the umbilical cord is around the neck?
- Lotus birth
- Who is cutting the umbilical cord?
Shortly after birth
- Baby skin on skin
- Even after cesarean baby at mother skin on skin in the ok (gentle cesarean)
- Have the baby a breast crawl /search themselves (biological nurturing)
- Hat on or not
- When do you call the family and when are they allowed to visit?
- Active management of the afterbirth time (oxytocin injection, allowing placenta to be born smoothly with help)
- Spontaneous birth of placenta: wait until urge, up to an hour (or longer?) After the birth of a child
- How long do you want to wait if you can?
- Contact with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding course in advance
- Biological nurturing
- Try to latch on it yourself
- Do you want help only when you ask? Or would you like to help / watch immediately?
- If the baby breast does not grab or suck properly: check for a short tongue strap
- Expressing breastmilk: during pregnancy and afterwards
- If there is an indication to top up: first try with hand expression & give a colostrum every 30 minutes.
- Would you like to give breast milk from another mother (donor milk)?
- When would you like to switch to artificial food and which (hypoallergenic?)
- Always keep baby with you, do not remove (rooming in)
- For more information about these topics, see: borstvoeding.com
- The role of the maternity nurse /kraamzorg in Dutch
- What kind of help would you like?
- Help with breastfeeding
- Help in house cleaning
- Help with other children
- Can a trainee come along or can an almost graduated maternity nurse provide the care independently to you?
- 1 permanent maternity nurse or how many changes do you find acceptable?
- What kind of medical checks?
- Heel prick
- When do you send the birth announcements?
- When do you want a visit and how much?
Common medical indications (reasons for which it is advisable to have the delivery (further) supervised by a gynecologist in the hospital):
- Breech presentation
- Previous cesarean section
- Premature birth (<37 weeks)
- Serotinity or giving birth over time (> 42 weeks)
- Prolonged broken membranes without contractions (> 24 hours)
- Meconium containing amniotic fluid (baby has pooped in amniotic fluid)
- Non-progressive birth (stagnation or slow settlement in opening or birthing phase)
- Pain relief
- Placenta is not born <1 hour
- Too much blood loss after birth
Are there any recommendations, guidelines or protocols that you have difficulty with or want to know more about in advance?
If there are any questions and / or comments, please let me know.
Go to my contact page to contact me.