They might also be called “birth visions,” as births seldom go according to plan.
You may have heard the term and wondered if you need one. A birth plan is a great tool to communicate your birth preferences to your provider and the hospital staff who will be caring for you and your newborn. It can include any specific requests or concerns you have for your labor or birth, or a list of options that are important to you.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a birth plan is in the process of creating it: taking the time to go through possible scenarios helps you discern what options resonate most with you. Much of what happens during labor and birth is out of anyone’s control, so it might help to think of it as a “birth vision,” as birth seldom goes according to any one plan.
Some common components of a birth plan are preferences for pain control, birthing positions and newborn care. Would you prefer low lighting and your own playlist playing? Are you planning a water birth, or would you like to use nitrous oxide for pain relief? Some people specify that they would like their partner to cut the cord or help catch the baby. Many of the requests on a standard birth plan are typical practices for midwives. Midwives routinely bring baby straight to the birthing person’s chest following delivery, delay cord clamping and limit medical interventions. We encourage our clients to bring their birth plans to the 36-week prenatal visit, so we can review it together and talk through any potential circumstances.
As midwives, it is our job to help guide you and your family toward a birth that is as equally safe as it is empowering. A birth plan is a great tool to aid in that process.
Did you know that babies are biologically designed to nurse? They are born with reflexes that help them “crawl” to the breast and latch on. Having plenty of skin-to-skin contact with your newborn can help activate their reflexes and encourage them to latch.
Kanya DelPozzo , MSN, CNM
McKenzie Midwives & Lactations Services
960 N. 16th St., Ste 104, Springfield (541) 744-8660