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
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:||YES||NO||DON’T KNOW||DON’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|
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!