It doesn’t take long from the moment a woman sees the pregnancy test turn positive that she begins to worry about labor. It is past the point of no return, and whether she likes it or not, she is going to have to give birth at some point. There are only so many ways a baby can come out, and the thought of any of them can be a little intimidating and alarming to anyone. This is especially true for anyone who has not given birth before.
One of the reasons why childbirth is so troubling is because so much of it is out of a woman’s control. She can’t exactly plan when it will happen or how much it will hurt, and this sense of helplessness when bringing a baby into the world can be frightening. That is where a birth plan comes in hand.
Having a birth plan can make a lot of women feel more at ease, feel like they are more in control of their delivery and what will happen. Birth plans are never set in stone because anything can happen, but they help to plan ahead for what is coming.
Pregnancy and childbirth are pretty big deals, and when women are facing a big and stressful situation, it is easy to ‘forget’ things. Minds are working a million miles a minute and things can get forgotten. We are here with a list of 20 things that a lot of moms actually forget to put in their birth plan.
20 What Comes Before Birth
This one is often forgotten because it isn’t necessarily to do with the birth. Birth plans are normally written a few weeks (or months) before the due date actually arrives, and there is one thing mom should pencil in. Mom-to-be should be penciling in some time to get pampered. Make sure she gets herself to that spa well before her due date.
Once that baby arrives, it is going to be hard to have much time for yourself, especially in the beginning. It is always important to make sure that you get a few hours to yourself to just relax and enjoy yourself before the big day comes.
19 Ask The Hospital What Props They Offer
There are a ton of props out there for use during labor, and most of them are available at your hospital, but only if you ask. It is unlikely these will be offered unless you ask for them or they are in your birth plan. Some examples of birthing props could be a birthing ball, a birthing peanut, or even a birthing tub.
This is another reason why it is important to research before your due date the different items available to you. Research what these items are and how and when they could be beneficial to you during labor. Make sure to note down on your birth plan so the hospital staff knows if you want to use these aids.
18 Forgetting To Prepare For The Pain
One of the most important things when it comes to a birth plan is research, and this is often what a lot of women forget to do. In order to make sure you have an accurate and realistic birth plan, you need to research what your options are.
Pain management during labor is something that should definitely be on your birth plan. This includes if you want it or not. Birth plans are not contracting and if you write that you don’t want any pain meds during labor you are allowed to change your mind. Make sure you research the different forms of pain management that are offered at your hospital so that you can specify what you would like to use.
17 Don’t Forget The “In Case” Section
We all go through pregnancy imaging the perfect birth, that everything goes according to plan and we end up with this beautiful childbirth story. While this is a nice thought, it doesn’t always work out that way. The only thing constant about childbirth is that it is unpredictable, and anything can happen. If mom is planning on a natural birth, there may be times that a C-section is needed.
This is why it is always important to have an ‘in case’ section in your birth plan. Your birth plan will outline how you want your labor to go, but it is always good to write what you would like to happen in case you need medical intervention or a C-section. It is always better to be prepared for anything that may happen.
16 Nurses Are Bodyguards!
There is a hidden secret when it comes to nurses and it is one that can come in very handy. Nurses are bodyguards. Nurses are the unsung heroes of childbirth and they deserve more credit than they get but they can also act as a bodyguard. That means that if there are people you do not want in the delivery room or recovery room than they can take the brunt of the hit and tell them to leave. As long as it is in your birth plan, of course. The nurses are not mind-readers, they’re good but not that good. If you do not want any visitors after birth or while you are delivering then make sure that you place that in your birth plan. Then when the delivery comes, you can make guarantee they will do all they can to make sure no one comes uninvited.
15 Second Or Third Baby? Put Past Birth Information!
We discussed earlier how it is important to list any issues or complications with your pregnancy for the medical team, but it is also important to put any past birth information. If this is not your first time at the rodeo, make sure you have a section for past births in your birth plan as well.
This could be any information that you think the hospital should know about previous pregnancies as well as previous childbirths. It is always a good idea to bring up your birth plan at previous OB appointments. Your OB can help you put it together and go over any information that they think is necessary.
14 How Often Are The Checks?
When writing your birth plan, it is not a bad idea to talk to other mom’s who have already had children. If you have never given birth before, chances are, you do not know exactly what is coming. An experienced mom can help you along the way. One thing a lot of experienced moms say is that it can get exhausting the number of times the nurse comes in to check you.
You can, however, put a limit on how many checks you want in your birth plan. If it is possible, the nurses can normally accommodate fewer cervical checks. This can be helpful in mom-to-be getting more rest as she won’t have the nurse coming in every hour to check her.
13 Wireless Is An Option?
Sometimes, we leave things out of our birth plan because we don’t think we have an option. We just think things are done a certain way and there is not much we can do to change it. While the medical staff is there to help you and make sure everything goes well, the labor experience is yours and yours alone.
This means that you do have a say in certain things and monitoring is one of them. In a traditional birth, the moment you are admitted into delivery, the nurses will place a heartbeat monitor and contraction monitor on your abdomen. This allows them to constantly track the baby’s heart rate.
This is not always necessary, though, and unless there are concerns about the baby’s heart, there is no reason why mom needs to be monitored at all times.
12 There Is A Playlist For That!
Have you ever thought about having music playing while you are delivering your baby? Music can be very powerful and therapeutic, and it has helped people get through some pretty difficult times. If mom thinks that some music would be nice while she is in labor, she should add it into her birth plan. This way the nursing staff is aware that mom-to-be wants music to be played before they yell at dad-to-be to turn it down.
It's also helpful for the nurses to know, should there be a situation where they need to turn it on for mom. If mom does not have a support person, but wants music played while she is pushing, a birth plan will inform the nurses on what to do if they are able.
11 There Is A Light Switch For A Reason
This is another one that we take for granted because we assume that it can not be changed. A lot of people wouldn’t dare ask the hospital to turn down their lights. Many think that is frowned upon. However, you can absolutely ask for the lights to be dimmed or turned off.
If there is not an emergency, and you want to rest the nurse will be more than happy to turn down the lights or turn them off altogether. Make sure to include that in your birth plan in case you forget or are unable to relay the information at the time. The nurse can read the plan and will know that you would prefer dim lighting at anytime a check is not happening.
10 Pushing Is Versatile
Some of our misconceptions about birth can also be blamed on Hollywood. Movies and TV shows often depict labor happening one way and one way only. The woman’s water breaks, she rushes to the hospital, then lays on her back, and has her baby. This has led a lot of women to believe that they can only deliver a baby on their back and this is only half true.
There are many positions in which a woman can give birth and if mom wants to try them, she needs to put it in her birth plan. The only problem is that if you have decided to get an epidural, you will be stuck on your back to give birth.
9 Adults Can Have Stuffed Animals, Too!
A lot of adults don’t want to admit that they have certain sentimental items that they like to snuggle at night or when they are not feeling well. However, childbirth is not a time to feel guilty, you use whatever you need to make sure you are comfortable. This means that if you have a ‘lovey’ or something that helps to calm you down, bring it.
This could be a stuffed animal, a blanket, or an article of clothing. Bring it with you and put it in your birth plan. Make sure the nurses know that you have an item that will help you calm down if you get to a place where you cannot communicate verbally.
8 Banking At Birth
Unless you're doing your research, you may not know about this. Cord plasma banking is something that a lot of people choose to do. This is when they save the contents from the umbilical cord in case you would need it should your child fall ill. It has many benefits and it is something that a mom-to-be needs to research and decide if it is right for her family.
The only downside is that it can be costly to do this. The reason it is good to have this in your birth plan is because the moment the baby is born, everything gets a little crazy. There is so much going on that chances are the new mom will forget to mention it to the nurses. Having it in the birth plan means they are already aware.
7 Skin-To-Skin Is Not A Given
Skin-to-skin is incredibly important, and it has so many benefits. It helps regulate the baby’s heart rate and temperature and it is also helpful if the mom wants to breastfeed. However, it should never be assumed that the hospital will allow this. Most hospitals will place the baby on mom’s chest right away but only for a few moments.
After a few moments, they whisk the baby away to do vital checks and administer anything that they need to. What mom can do in her birth plan is to specify that she wishes any tests that can be done while doing skin-to-skin should be encouraged. This means that there should be very few reasons why the baby is removed from the mom’s chest.
6 Back-Up Contact
One of the best things you can have in your birth plan is a contact section. This is a section where you need to put information for everyone you want to be informed if something should happen. You can list down the specific support people you want in the room with you and even some people you may want to be contacted should an emergency happen.
One of the best things about a birth plan is that everything is right there and convenient. If a nurse should need information then she doesn’t have to look any further than the piece(s) of paper right there on the bedside table.
5 Pregnancy History Is Important, Don’t Just Assume!
We spend most of our pregnancy seeing one OB, and we develop a relationship with them. They also know a lot about our pregnancy. However, they may not be the one delivering your baby on the big day. Most OBs work as part of a delivery team at the local hospital, and you are going to be working with the doctor who is on call that day.
It is important to have a section on your birth plan about any issues or complications with your pregnancy. This will be incredibly helpful for the on-call doctor who may not have had time to look at your chart. The nurses also are new to your pregnancy and it may be important that they have this information should you not be in a position to verbally relay it.
4 Newborn Care Is Important!
The birth plan doesn’t end when the baby is out, there are certain things that mom should put in there for after the baby is born and that is what these next two sections will be about. There are certain things that the baby goes through after they are born. They have the obvious done, like length checks, but there is also the eye ointment and vitamin K administration.
It is important that mom-to-be researches these while she is pregnant and has discussions with her doctor about these. No matter what her decision is, it should be in her birth plan. If it is not, the nurses are probably going to do what they always do without a second thought.
3 Birth Is Just The Beginning! Don’t Forget Aftercare
Aftercare for a new mom is important, too, and mom-to-be needs to think about what she wants/needs as soon as she is in the recovery room. Does she want a chance to get up and walk around? Does she want a shower? What is her stance on meds after birth to help the aches and pains? These are all things the nurses need to know.
The nurses need to know these things because chances are, if you want them, they are going to need to help you. They may need to help you if you want a quick shower after birth or if you need meds to help with any post-labor pain.
2 To Break Or Not To Break?
A pregnant woman’s water breaking as a start of labor does not happen as often as Hollywood would make you think it did. Very few women have their water break as the first sign that labor is coming. Most women go through hours of contractions before their water is broken by a medical professional or it breaks on its own.
Mom-to-be wants to make sure that she puts in her birth plan whether she wants her water drained or not. The problem with this one is that there may come a point when the doctor has to break your water no matter what, but you can delay it. All you need to do in your birth plan is say that you would like to delay water breaking as long as possible, or until medically necessary.
1 Pacifier Problems
Pacifiers are a big topic in the parenting world. Some moms swear by them and there is a mad panic when one can not be found. Other mom’s like to try and avoid these items before any bad habits start. If you haven’t thought about where you stand on the pacifier issue, then now is the time to start. If you do not want your baby to have a pacifier, put it in your birth plan.
Some hospitals will give a newborn a pacifier almost as soon as they are born. This isn’t true for all hospitals, but it is always a good idea to check. Make sure you make them aware of your wishes for this so that they know whether to offer one to your baby or not.