I’m almost 34 weeks pregnant and if you’re like me (OCD and Type A) you will agree that preparing a short (ladies – its not intended to be a novel) birth plan is a great way to calm nerves and make sure everyone who is going to be in the delivery room is on the same page.

First, I will tell you that I went back and forth for weeks on this, whether it was worth it or just a waste of time. I came to the conclusion that finding a “birth plan” template online would be the best way to go. This way it would help me get familiar with the terms used during labor and the options I have, WITHOUT being stressed out of actually creating one from scratch.

In case you haven’t heard of a birth plan, it is an excellent tool for you to use when preparing for the delivery of your bundle of joy. It helps you to actually think through the things that you want and don’t want with regards to options for labor and delivery. It is typically shared with your OBGYN, the nurses at the hospital you are delivering at or with your mid-wife/doula.

I would suggest providing it to your doctor about two months before delivery, that way you can go over questions you may have and just have it ready in your file ahead of time.

Below are some questions to consider when developing your plan, but if you are like me, you might also want to visit this website, which provides a template for you. http://pregnant.thebump.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-tools/articles/tool-birth-plan.aspx?MsdVisit=1

Questions to consider:

• Who do you want to be present?
• Do you want a doula?
• Will there be children/siblings present?
• Do you want mobility or do you wish to stay in bed?
• What activities or positions do you plan to use? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees)
• Do you prefer a certain position to give birth?
• What will you do for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, tub or Jacuzzi, medication)
• How do you feel about fetal monitoring?
• How do you plan to keep hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
• Do you want pain medications, or not? Do you have a preference for certain pain medications?
• Would you be willing to have an episiotomy? Or, are there certain measures you want to use to avoid one?
• What are your preferences for your baby’s care? (when to feed, where to sleep)
• Do you want a routine IV, a heparin/saline block, or neither?
• Do you want to wear your own clothing?
• Do you want to listen to music and have focal points?
• Do you want to use the tub or shower?
• For home and birth center births, what are your plans for hospital transport in case of emergency?
• If you need a cesarean, do you have any special requests?

Ladies – have you used a birth plan? What are your thoughts on it? What other items should be included in the plan? Are there any moms-to-be that will be creating one or are undecided? Let’s keep this conversation going!

Happy Birth Planning everyone!