Resource List for Birth Plans

I felt motivated to revamp some of my emails/handouts/resources for the women I work with and came up with a fun (well, fun to me) way to encourage women to research their options for labor and birth in order to start writing a birthing plan. There is a lot of discussion and disagreement over if to write or not write a birth plan, what it is and what it isn't, etc... but this email is about education and options.

I welcome additional feedback, links, options, and articles that you found/find helpful and interesting.
It’s time to think about your birth options and what you want out of your experience. A great way to know this is to take a quiet moment, perhaps in the tub, with candles lit and a glass of sparkling grape juice. Let your mind wander and then ask yourself – how do I envision my birth? Dream up as many details as possible.. now start to consider how you can make this happen in the place of birth you have chosen. This is a great way to start working on writing a birth plan.

A birth plan is a GREAT way to facilitate good communication with your birth team before labor even begins. So, your homework this week is to start writing out your birth plan. I broke the email down into sections, much like what you might see in a typical birth plan. The Pre-labor section is for your education and your/my conversation, I recommend only putting in a birth plan what happens once you get to your care provider - as that is when they typically have access to it. Try to keep your birth plan short and sweet, with a positive voice, less than a page long, and not a list of "DON'T"s. Be open minded as birth is as organic as you are... and let's get researching!   

  • Cervical Checks in Labor - oftentimes recommended every 2-3 hours during labor.
  • Water Breaking/PSROM and AROM - only about 10-20% of women start labor with their waters breaking, and sometimes it takes awhile for contractions to start. It is common practice for a care provider to assume consent of AROM or breaking your water for you during labor unless otherwise specified. If you have feelings either way, be sure to share them with your provider.
Postpartum/Newborn Care
All options for family or mother-centered cesarean can be found in the following links.
Remember the  basics of writing a birth plan:
  • Keep your plan to one page.
  • If you can't, consider having two to three plans: a birth plan, a cesarean plan, and a newborn plan. Separate sheets for each - this also allows you to put the baby plan in the warmer so that the nursery staff can read it while you're birthing your baby and have less questions postpartum.
  • Keep out the unnecessary (i.e., they no longer shave you and give you an enema for a vaginal birth, so don’t include that information). 
  • Keep it on purpose – if you are writing a birth plan, you don’t need to include information about your pregnancy care.
So, there we have it! Thoughts? Recommendations on other links, articles, resources, or videos?

And for some comic relief... 


Whoz Your Doula said...

Awesome post!

Becky said...

Super helpful. Thank you :)

Lavendar said...

Thank you for this great list of resources and information! I was bullied into "consenting" to eye drops for my daughter, because the hospital staff told me I could not refuse. This time I will be printing out the refusal form you linked to and having it ready in case my current arrangements to birth with a midwife do not work out!

Caroline Ward said...

This is BRILLIANT! Just got this link from a fellow Doula. Thank you so much for putting all this information together. I am definitely going to direct my birth clients to this checklist. Especially love the sections on 'estimated' delivery dates and c sections! Wonderful.
Caroline x

Stephanie C said...

Thanks so much for this post! My midwife asked me for a birth plan last week and I was completely lost. This list helped me to figure out what I prefer, what to expect, and what to discuss with my midwife at our next apointment. However, the link to the refusal forms seem to be broken, would it be possible to get these links corrected or alternate links posted? I appreciate all of the help you have provided. Thanks again.

Nicole D said...

Hi Stephanie C - I would be happy to share those exemptions with you by email. Feel free to send me a message by email and I will send you a copy of them! :)


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