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That little positive sign has appeared and you are expecting – congratulations! Most women get excited about all of the cute baby clothes, the adorable tiny diapers, decorating a room just for their little bundle of joy, and all of the other things that come with pregnancy. One thing that is not always mentioned is a birthing plan. The birthing plan is essentially what YOU want to happen when you are in labor, as you deliver the baby, and during your hospital stay post delivery. Obviously, there are always unexpected surprises and no two labor and deliveries are the same, but by creating a birthing plan, your doctor will now know what you are hoping for and what you are willing to compromise on versus what you are firm about before any of the unexpected surprises come up. Here are a few things to consider when creating your personalized birthing plan, and for making sure you, your partner and the doctors involved are all on the same page.
Birthing Plan Questions and Details
How would you bring your personal birthing plan to life? While there are some obvious choices to make when preparing to give birth such as whether to get an epidural or not, there are many other options to choose from for how you would like to go through the birthing process. Labor is a fickle thing that can last an hour or many many hours. While you are in labor, painfully awaiting the arrival of your little prince or princess, what do you want to be able to do to speed up the process, distract you from, and or alleviate the discomfort? Who would you like to be allowed in the room with you? Are pictures or videos allowed in the delivery room? Do you WANT someone taking pictures or a video of you? Different hospitals and birthing centers have different options such as a shower in the delivery room, allowing you to walk the halls and be out of bed, and even an exercise ball! Some places will even allow you to bring things to decorate the room you are ultimately going to deliver your baby in, to allow it to feel comforting or they may even allow you to have music on. You know your body best and know what is most likely to ease your pain so when discussing these options with your doctor, be sure to find out what is offered at the location where you will be giving birth. While some women prefer to have a natural birth, there are many medicinal pain relief options as well. Medicines such as Pitocin, which is a synthetic Oxytocin, can be given to help speed up the delivery. Medicines to decrease the pain can also be given through your I.V. and are usually some form of narcotics. There is also the most commonly heard option: epidural or no epidural? All of these are things you want to discuss with your provider and partner and determine what YOU are comfortable with, and what you want for your labor experience as part of your wellness plan during childbirth.
Having a Labor and Delivery Plan Prevents Confusion
Once you have figured out how you hope and desire your labor to go, it is time to think about the actual delivery. In all of the movies, they always show the mom to be in a hospital bed on her back. However, this is not the only birthing position and if you want them to allow you to deliver in one of the others, discuss it with your doctor and find out what positions he or she supports and encourages as well as what you are most comfortable with. Something they don’t show in the movies is the episiotomy. This is a small incision made to increase the vaginal opening to hopefully prevent tearing and is usually optional although some doctors prefer to do one as it is easier to stitch a straight cut than a tear. This is also the time that you want to think about how you want the doctors to handle things should complications arise. Often dads in the delivery room are already overly flustered and confused on how to help as they watch their love struggle in pain during childbirth to deliver their sweet baby and know there is little they can do but sit there and let you crush their hand with each contraction. This is not the time for a situation to come up where they are put on the spot to make important decisions! Discuss any possible complications with your doctor and partner and make sure they are both aware of what you prefer to happen should any of those situations arise.
Managing the Tough Decisions
Your baby is finally here! Yet there are even more things to consider once your tiny little human is out in the big bright world. Is dad going to cut the umbilical cord or suction the baby’s nose? Do you want to hold your little one before he or she is cleaned up or wait until after? Do you want to nurse or bottle feed and if you are planning to nurse, how soon do you want to try to feed your baby? Some places will even let dad be the one to catch the baby as you give birth! Men can be surprisingly squeamish when it comes to actually be there and seeing the delivery so if your partner decides the doctor should cut the cord, don’t let your maternity hormones take it to heart. If you intend to nurse, having a lactation nurse available is advised. She can help walk you through getting the baby to latch, proper positioning, and will answer any questions you may have.
As you can see, there are many more things to choose from other than what clothes to purchase and what furniture to decorate the baby’s room with! Surprisingly, there are even more options than we have mentioned here. Some OB/GYN offices have a form you can fill out. If yours doesn’t, then there is always the internet! Making these decisions ahead of time will alleviate any stress or confusion when the time actually comes to bring your bundle of joy into the world and therefore, will alleviate that stress from passing to the baby. Creating your own personalized birthing plan and bringing it to life can feel very rewarding. It’s empowering as you see how well your preparation for pregnancy brings you to that very momentous occasion where you finally get to meet your sweet new baby. Just remember, regardless of which options you choose to go with, we all know what every parent wants most is to deliver a healthy baby!