Expert Advice

A Quick Checklist To Help You Write Your Birth Plan

I’m going to do what I want to do.

I‘m going to be who I really am.

I’m going to figure out what that is.

                                                                                                                     – Emma Watson[1]

Choosing between the 7 core birth options is a personal choice, a preference. For many women, pregnancy and writing a birth plan opens a huge world of strange, new choices to make. Many are based in personal desires; some are determined by your health status. Knowing your birth preferences helps you write your birth plan.

As you plan for your baby’s birth—and one of the greatest milestones in your own life — choosing what makes you feel happiest, safest, or most comfortable may need some thinking. But how do you think about something you’ve never done before?

When you write a birth plan, there are big categories to mention (like where you give birth) and there are smaller, more personal choices to include (like whether you listen to music during labor). Some of the answers to those questions are clear, and some are confusing, mysterious, or downright complicated.

Writing a birth plan can sound like a huge project, so let’s chunk it up into some basic questions that can help you decide where you’ll feel best, what could help during labor, and how you feel fitting into established routines. Inside these big choices there are many smaller ones to make for your final birth plan and if necessary, your hospital bag checklist.

Here’s a quick list to help you begin to think about what matters—and what doesn’t —to you.

I WANT TO:YESNODON’T KNOWDON’T CARE
Where or when I give birth
1.    give birth at home
2.   give birth in the hospital
3.   give birth in a birthing center
4.   let my body and my baby tell me when labor begins
5.   schedule my delivery date
Who is with me during labor & delivery
6.    have my partner with me
7.    have my other children with me
8.    have a doula with me
9.    have nursing staff with me
10.  know which midwife, doctor, or nurse will be at my birth
11.  accept whoever is on staff when I give birth
How I labor and give birth
12.  have an unmedicated (natural) birth
13.  have pain medication
14.  have as few interruptions as possible during labor
15.  have regular exams during labor to monitor progress
16.  be able to move around freely during labor
17.  follow my body’s signals
18.  follow the hospital routines
19.  have baby immediately put on my chest after birth (skin to skin contact)
20.  wait to hold my baby until after she’s cleaned and clothed
What happens after birth
21.  nurse my baby immediately after birth
22.  begin to nurse after I’m rested
23.  make all the decisions for my new baby
24.  trust the hospital staff to make the right decisions for my baby
25. have my baby sleep in bed with me or in my room
26. have my baby sleep in the nursery
27. go home as soon as possible
28. stay in the hospital as long as possible
29.
30.
31.

Use the empty spaces to include something you consider important that’s not mentioned in the list.

Before you can write your final birth plan, there are a million other details to think about in each of the big categories here. But with these big pieces in place, all those choices will be easier to think about. Here’s an excellent birth plan to help you make them!

[1] http://www.brainyquote.com/search_results.html?q=emma+watson&pg=2

Sabriga TurgonA Quick Checklist To Help You Write Your Birth Plan

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