What a Birth Plan Is (and what it isn't)

There are many options when it comes to having a baby. Women are not "one size fits all" and their births plans do not need to be either.

In Cincinnati, we are lucky to have some of the best hospitals/birth centers and providers in the tri-state area. Are you planning to give birth in a hospital? A free-standing birthing center, or in your home with a certified midwife. Do you plan to labor with or without pain medications? Maybe a combination of those options? You do not have to feel limited by your options!

Parents put a LOT of time into choosing all the best baby products, furniture, and clothing to give their baby the safest, healthiest, most positive start to life. Your birth is what sets the stage for positive parenting.

Organic sheets and the safest car seat are just as important as how your baby is born and how YOU feel about your birth.

Making plans for a safe and healthy birth, where your goals and options are valued, is an investment in you, your baby, your birth and the recovery/bonding period.

A birth plan is simply a written means of clarifying your hopes, expectations, and preferences for your labor, birth, and first 2 hours of care for your baby. It is not a "script" for your doctor or midwife to follow. In fact, I recommend that ou discuss with your birth plan with your care provider PRIOR to birth to gain their input, approval and support!

For women giving birth in the hospital, it is a one-page document to share with the L&D nurses who have never met you before and therefore do not know what you have discussed and agreed-to ahead of time with your doctor or midwife. For home birthing women, it is a written form of communication about their birth to share with their midwife team at the run-through before labor begins.

A birth plan is NOT a substitution for face-to-face communication or a document to ensure that everything your doctor or midwife promised you will actually happen. But it IS a way to communicate your wishes and preferences and options that ARE available to you (things like using a birthing ball in labor, the shower, tub, aromatherapy...and also details specific to you and your baby such as medical history, special requests like delayed cord clamping or delaying baby's bath to support a gentle transition to life outside the womb.)

Here are a few quick tips for creating a birth plan that can do some of the heavy lifting in communicating your preferences during labor so that you can focus on remaining calm and connected to the birthing process.

1. Keep it concise and simple.

2. Keep it to 1 page

3. Separate sections into before/after birth

4. Add allergies to medications and relevant medical history at top

5. Add pediatrician name/phone number at the top

Want to learn more about writing a birth plan? Join me for my online Monday Birth Prep series! This series is designed to give you extra information and advice on common pregnancy and birth related topics and classes are only $20. You can drop in on one or all of the 4-5 classes in the series, that runs every Monday 5:00-5:45, from the comfort of your own home! The first Monday is always "Birth Plans & Partner Support" and I would love to see you there!

To register go to https://www.welcometonurture.com/birth-prep and select "Monday Birth Prep Series."

With doula love,


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