Birth plans... — The Bump
Natural Birth

Birth plans...

I've heard women on the Tri boards say that they're worthless, or that nurses etc. dislike them.

I'm here to say it's not true!  I had a specific birthplan, with my 4 most important points bolded for my second birth (DO NOT OFFER ME PAIN MEDS UNLESS I ASK...and a few others) and I got the birth I wanted.  The first time I had a more general one, and had pain meds forced on me.

My advice...

Keep it to one page

Bold the important stuff

Realize a few things might change

Make sure to include HOW you want to labor (this was my one mistake last time, and in the heat of the moment, pushing on all 4s was abandoned.  I was recommened a position (squatting) that was totally uncomfortable for me, but didn't have the energy to speak up.  This is the one change I'll make this time.)

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Re: Birth plans...

  • when i arrived at the hospital my birth plan was in my bag. hours and hours later [i had my eyes closed 99% or the time focusing on my breathing] i  opened my eyes while i was leaning over the counter and saw it there on the counter. i never figured out how it got there but somehow it did and things like "wait til the cord stops pulsating to cut it" and "have the lights dim and curtains closed" were all followed to a T. i was VERY HAPPY i had taken the time to make a birth plan!


  • Thank you for sharing this!  I have a "birth plan" that came with my hospital paperwork, but I think I will add to it because I really want things to go my way!  I tend to give in to others & since everyone thinks I'm crazy for wating to go natural I feel like I might get a lot of pressure just from family about using drugs.....i don't need it from the nursing staff too! 


    I'll put together a simple birth plan with the most important things in bold! 

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  • Yes

    I couldn't agree more - both the midwife groups I've been with for my pregnancies have encouraged birth plans, which I do appreciate. I think it really helps you focus on what you're going to do during labor, and it also helps make sure your provider is on the same page as you, before you show up in labor...

    My SIL didn't have a birth plan, and spent a good amount of her labor saying no to epidurals - I think letting the nurses know things like that makes a big difference...

    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I agree with the OP and who gives a flying crap what the women on the tri boards say.  If how your labor goes is important to you, I see no harm in documenting your wishes.  However, you need to understand that things can often go very differently than planned and you may have to go with the flow. 

    Mine was called my 'Birth Preferences', was one page and I showed it to my midwife weeks before I was due.  She was totally in agreement with everything, but reminded me that things happen and we may have to stray from my wishes.  I told her that was fine because all I really wanted was Ben here and healthy and me to be ok too....whatever that took.

  • That's good information for people planning a hospital birth.  It always really got on my nerves when folks around here posted saying that birth plans didn't matter, as though those of us who made them were naive.  I think it is true that it depends on the hospital and the OB, but IMO they are always worth making.
  • we actually made two birth plans, since we were planning a home birth. we had one plan for the home birth and another plan in case of hospital transfer. i didn't see the need to make many of my preferences known for my home birth team, as they would be with me the entire labor and i could articulate much of that time what i wanted (and most of that was standard anyway, like not cutting the cord immediately, immediate skin to skin contact, daddy catching the baby, etc).

    but if we had to transfer to the hospital, i wanted to make sure that this foreign birth team would know what my preferences were. i ended up in the hospital and they paid zero attention to my birth plan.

    i'd still write one again.

    [color=purple]Wife ? 9/18/04<BR>Mommy ? DS - 2006 (C/S) & DD - 2010 (HWBAC)<BR>Wellness Provider ? Birth Doula - Hypnotherapist - HypnoBirthing - Reiki Master/Teacher[/color]<BR><BR><a href= target="blank">Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth FAQs</a>
  • Birth Plans are so important - and if anything they help give (remind) your partner to have a voice. One recomendation is to use positive lanuage in your plan. Instead of saying DO NOT offer.... WE DON'T want... I WANT...

     Word things like...

    -It is our plan to labor WITHOUT meds. You can help us by not offering any medication.

    -We will opt out of the Hep B vaccine.

    -We will utilize different positions during labor and will walk around to help manage pain.

    Some OB's and nurses may be put off by the "we will not" and "do not" statments. Short sentences and one page with a 'thank you for your support' may win over a grumpy nurse...ultimately be sure that your partner has a voice in there! When I was in labor I could still answer questions but the nurses often looked to my doula or husband for clarification since I would often yell an answer during a contraction. HA!

  • I made one at the encouragement of my midwife and doula (I'm giving birth in a hospital).

    I think it's important to have your MW/OB help you edit the birthplan and remove anything that's already standard at the hospital you're delivering it.

    For example, my hospital already does a standard saline lock instead of an IV, they don't do enemas or shaving, they immediately put baby on your chest for warmth instead of a warmer and they delay bathing the baby for a few hours, etc.

    So to have all of those preferences in my birthplan would be redundant, and I can see a L&D nurse scanning that and immediately assuming I hadn't been educated on the hospital procedures, and then you have all the nurses rolling their eyes behind your back, etc.


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  • Keep your birth plan short and sweet. I can't tell you how many women I know who have had 3 or 4 page birth plans and ended up getting every single intervention and then having a c-section.

    If you stick to your convictions about med-free or whatever it may be then you'll be fine. It's the people who let the discomfort cloud their judgement who end up with the most problems.

    Mom to six awesome kids - Levi is 12, Landen is 8, Gabrielle is 6, Lucas is 3, and Oliver and Samuel are 2 years old. Love my crew. Baby Birthday Ticker TickerBaby Birthday Ticker Ticker
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