Putting together a natural birth plan is essential for every pregnant woman although it is also optional to a degree.
Sounds like that makes no sense right?
Well here’s the thing. If you take the time to write down your natural birth plan, everyone knows what to expect on your big day.
If you choose not to write one, you will still give birth but perhaps not in the way that you would have hoped too.
I’m going to run through what a natural birth plan is, how to write one, what should be included as well as a FREE Birth plan printable. (My gift to you for being so awesome!)
WHAT IS A BIRTH PLAN?
In short, a natural birth plan will inform your caregiver of all the things you want and do not want to happen during your time in labor.
It is an excellent way to make sure that those around you know what you want to happen once you go into labor.
This little piece of paper will basically be your voice when you might not be in a position to speak for yourself.
It will give clear direction to anyone that needs to know.
The thing that I love about a natural birth plan is that you have time to really think about what you want to happen on the day.
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WHY IS A NATURAL BIRTH PLAN SO IMPORTANT?
It gives you time to be prepared verses suddenly going into labor and not having communicated any of your wishes to anyone for this period.
It prevents you from feeling that everything is out of control.
This is even more so when it is your first labor.
In my first labor, I didn’t know what to expect. I certainly didn’t do a birth plan for whatever reason. I guess I felt that on the day I would be able to express what I wanted.
I was so clearly very wrong. Between getting to the hospital and lying in that hospital bed it was apparent that I didn’t have a clue what was happening around me.
I wasn’t in control one bit and I just let things happen TO me.
During this time I didn’t really have the voice to change things as I hadn’t researched enough.
Birth plans are there to keep things organized so that you don’t have to think about it on the day.
Once you have your birth plan all sorted out, you can concentrate on yourself and delivering your baby in the best possible way.
It’s always best to be fully prepared when it comes to childbirth. You can never be too overprepared.
Taking a prenatal class is that one thing you should do. Prenatal classes are great because you get to learn everything about labor and delivery that you need to know.
If you are looking for a really great prenatal class, I can highly recommend The online prenatal class by Pulling Curls.
In case you didn’t already notice its an online class making it perfect for working alongside your own schedule. You can check out the course here.
HOW SHOULD A BIRTH PLAN BE LAID OUT?
The best way to write a birth plan is to be as straight to the point as possible leaving no room for misinterpretation.
You don’t want to write paragraphs and paragraphs of STUFF that no one will ever read or even want to read.
Whilst your pregnancy might be fun and exciting for you, your care provider has 100 other women to attend too. All these other women also have a birth plan that needs to be read and understood.
Keep it as short and to the point as possible.
If you can use bullet points to make it easy and quick to read through.
Remember doctors and midwives are there to help you, so make the experience as pleasant as possible for them too.
Try as best as you can to keep your birth plan to a maximum of one page.
WHAT SHOULD YOU INCLUDE IN YOUR NATURAL BIRTH PLAN?
It’s best to start with perhaps a sentence or two about the kind of labor that you want to experience.
Move on to talk about what you would like your delivery to be like.
Do you want a natural birth, unassisted, semi-assisted etc?
It’s important for you to do the research and find out what you are comfortable with.
Some women don’t want any assistance at all from a doctor or midwife. They prefer to have the full experience of childbirth without any intervention at all.
If that’s you, that’s great. Just make sure that you write it all down so everyone is on the same page (no pun intended).
Do you want to have just your husband in the room? a doula? your mother in law?
Think about it very carefully and remember that you can decide what and who you want and don’t want in that delivery room.
ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE PAIN RELIEF?
If you want to have access to some forms of pain relief then put it in your birth plan.
If you are happy to have gas and air but not an epidural then you need to state that.
For your natural birth plan to work you need to make sure that you are very well researched on what to expect when you go into labor.
If gas and air doesn’t work for you on the day, are you aware of any other forms of pain relief that you could consider?
A water birth is a great way to have a natural birth without using any type of medication.
Take the time to go through the different types of pain management that are available to you and see which one you are happy to have in the event that you might need it.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER IN THE DELIVERY ROOM
Would you like to have soft music playing in the background? The lights dimmed? Do you want the atmosphere to remain calm whilst you labor or are you happy for people to be walking around having a laugh?
Some women like as little interruption as possible whilst they labor whereas others like their midwife to do fetal monitoring every hour or so. The choice is yours.
Are you open to having an episiotomy or would you rather have a natural perineal tear in the case of your baby turning in an awkward position?
Just as a side note if you push through the pain you will likely experience the ring of fire and end up with some degree of tearing so its important to follow your body’s cues.
At this point do you want the midwife to tell you when to push or are you confident enough to let your body decide on its own when you are ready to naturally birth your baby?
There’s a lot to consider and a lot of information to take in as well.
After you look at what you want to get out of your labor then you need to look at what is going to happen next once you have delivered your baby.
YOU WILL WANT TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING THINGS
Delayed cord clamping – Is there a need to have your baby’s umbilical cord cut early on? There are so many benefits to delayed cord clamping you might want to consider them before you say “cut that cord”.
Placenta encapsulation – A lot of women like to preserve their placentas to eat later or for other benefits. If you want to keep it you must put in in your birth plan otherwise it will disappear very quickly.
Vaccines – Are you happy for your baby to receive vaccines very early on? or would you rather wait or not have them at all? Make sure that you stipulate your preference very clearly in your birth plan.
Your baby’s first bath – Do you want your baby to have their first bath in the hospital? Or would you prefer it if the vernix is rubbed in and you bath your baby yourself much later on?
Rubbing your baby’s vernix caseosa in is a great way to keep your baby’s skin moisturized. It’s like your baby’s very own special cream!
Some women don’t like their babies removed from the room and away from mom at all. You need to let everyone know if this is the case. I know I certainly did!
You can download a template of your natural birth plan right here
FINAL THOUGHTS ON YOUR NATURAL BIRTH PLAN
The biggest thing to remember about giving birth is that although you can plan until the cows come home, ultimately, you cannot control what will happen on the day.
It’s important to remember this and be open to things being outside of your control.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you deliver your baby safely and that you are well enough to look after your baby postpartum.
You can get some really great FREE things for both mom and baby here
Related posts to having a natural birth plan:
- Hospital bag checklist: Here’s what you need to pack
- The 3 stages of labor you need to know about
- What you need to understand about the pain of childbirth