What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is, just like it would seem to be, a plan for your birth process.  Unlike women just a generation ago, today’s moms-to-be are becoming much more informed about the labor and birth process, and are taking a much more active role in both their prenatal care, as well as the birthing process.  A birth plan is a way for a woman, and her husband if possible, to sort out many of the issues regarding labor and birth, and to make decisions about her care and the care of her new baby ahead of time.

A birth plan should cover some of the most important issues regarding labor and delivery.  A birth plan should contain basic biographical information about the woman and her husband.  It should list any special health concerns, such as being Rh-positive, being diabetic, or having a disability of some sort.  It should indicate where the birth will take place, whether it is is a hospital, a birth center, at home, or somewhere else.  A birth plan should also consider the couple’s preferred environment.  For example, if a couple does not wish to have interns, students, or any other non-essential medical personnel in the labor and delivery room, it should indicate this.  Whether or not her partner is present should be indicated. 





Some non-traditional issues can be covered in a birth plan, as well.  Being able to wear your own clothes, for example, can be specified in a birth plan.  Having music present and being able to choose what music is used is also an option.  Using aromatherapy could also be included in a birth plan. 

Medical issues can be addressed in a birth plan also.  Whether or not you want to have an IV can be covered.  Pain management can be covered, as well.  This may include the types of pain relief that you may or may not want, as well as indicating what method of natural child birth (if any) you will be using.    Whether or not you want to have continuous fetal monitoring, or whether that monitoring should be internal or external can be addressed.  Whether or not to try to avoid an episiotomy can be discussed, as well.  Even requiring a second opinion before having a C-section can be addressed.

A birth plan can be one of the most useful tools that a pregnant woman can have.

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