The birth of your baby is a moment that you anticipate for nine long months. Consider creating a birth plan as a guideline of what your wishes are for the big day. And try to keep in mind that birth plans are there to be an outline of what you are striving for, so make it flexible to ensure that you will have a beautiful and memorable experience.
Here are important things to consider when making a flexible birth plan.
What Happens During Labor?
When you arrive at the hospital, a doctor or nurse will check you to see how far your labor has progressed.
- Once you are admitted, you will be taken to the room where you will likely remain for the rest of your hospital stay. This is where you will be able to unpack, get comfortable, dim the lights, play music and get comfortable.
- Depending on the progress of your labor and risk factor, the hospital may or may not administer an IV. If you have a low risk labor, then you will most likely be encouraged to move around to help your labor move along.
- Most hospitals will hook you up to fetal monitoring upon arrival, if your baby’s heart rate is normal and labor is progressing with ease, you can ask to have the fetal monitoring be administered intermittently.
- Pain management will come into play as labor intensifies. Be sure to learn about your options ahead of time. If you are planning for a unmedicated birth, have your props and support team ready to go as you will likely need to move around and find comfortable positions to manage the pain on your own. If you prefer to have an epidural, get the necessary education to know when to ask for it and how to handle labor while medicated
- Sometimes, labor has been known to stop progressing. Be ready to know what you would like to do in case it happens to you. Some of the options include, breaking the amniotic sac, administering labor inducing medications and even the simple option of walking around.
- When the time for pushing arrives, the medical team will advise you on when to bear down and push, however, many women prefer to follow their body’s natural flow and push when it feels right.
- Most hospitals are quick to administer episiotomies when the perineum begins to tear. Learn about this natural effect of birth and decide whether you want to have an episiotomy or allow your body to tear naturally and heal without stitching.
During some births, Doctors opt to assist in the delivery with the use of forceps or a vacuum device. Learn about these options ahead of time to know if these are methods that you agree with for your own delivery.
For a number of reasons including high-risk pregnancies and repeat c-sections, some women and their doctors opt to do planned c-sections. Also, in some cases when a natural labor is not progressing after a significant amount of time or if the fetus is at risk, an emergency c-section will be necessary.
- Once the decision has been made to proceed with a c-section you will be placed on a fetal monitor, an IV will be inserted to your arm and you will be prompted to sign some documents.
- Following the first steps, you will be transported to the operating room where your birth partner will have to wait outside while you are prepped for surgery.
- During prep, you will be sat down leaning forward and an anesthesiologist will administer a spinal block or epidural. Both types of anesthesia allow you to remain awake during the c-section so you can experience your baby’s birth. Learn about these options so you can ask for the one you agree with most.
- You will then be laid down on the operating table, your arms will be strapped down for safety reasons and a curtain will be placed in front of you to block your view from the operation. At this point your birth partner will be allowed to join you in the O.R.
- Once the c-section is underway, your heart rate will be monitored and medications will be administered if necessary. Learn about these options ahead of time.
- Once the doctor is ready to bring the baby out of your uterus, your birth partner will be given permission to take photos/video and the curtain will be pulled down slightly to show you your baby.
- At this point your baby will be set aside to be cleaned up and wrapped up. Once the baby is wrapped and warm, she will be placed on your chest so you can meet for the first time and take a photo.
- Once you’ve met your baby, you will be separated while your incision gets stitched up and you are taken to the recovery room. Be sure to plan with your birthing partner so that they may go with your baby to the nursery. You can opt to have another birth partner stay by your side during the end of the surgery.
- Once you are transported to the recovery room, you will be asked to tell the nurse when you begin regaining feeling in your lower body. When this happens, pain medication will begin to be given to you. When your condition is stable, you are ready to see your baby again.
- Once your baby is out of your womb, let your doctor know if your partner wants to cut the cord and if you will be banking your baby’s cord blood.
- Upon birth, you can ask for all the necessary testing and measuring of the baby to be done in the same room so that you are not separated from your baby. Bathing and measuring can be done at a later tie so that you may have time to bond with your little one.
- At this point, most hospitals administer recommended vaccinations to the baby, if this is not something you want, you will want to include this in the birthing plan and will likely be asked to sign a waiver.
- Some hospitals take the initiative to feed formula to newborn babies, you are not required to do so and should make it known to them if this is not something you want. Lactation consultants are available to help you get started on breastfeeding if you wish to get some help.
- When the birthing process is complete, you will begin your postpartum recovery. It is imperative to know how you will handle your recovery and which tools you will use to reduce pain and increase comfort. postpartum recovery garments such as Compression Girdles are excellent tools that aid in a speedy recovery while allowing mom to move about, hold her baby and still breastfeed comfortably, all without experiencing pain.
- Be sure to make plenty of copies of your birth plan and give them to your doctor, nurse, birth partner and even post one on the door of your room. Be flexible in knowing that plans change according to a variety of situations that arise for women during labor and delivery.