Whether you have your birth plan written down in immense detail or you have a preconceived idea in your head as to how you want your experience to go, there are a few things that you'll want figured out for sure before the time comes.
There are people like your midwife, doctor, partner or another family member that you can discuss further options with, and there are some basic ideas that will definitely be important to consider when thinking of your delivery date before it arrives. Here, we have curated some of the things you should prioritize when creating your birthing plan.
10 WHO YOU WANT IN THE ROOM
One of the most important things that you will want to decide right away: who will be in the room with you during the delivery? Some medical professionals will advise only one or two people, while others allow the parent(s) to decide based on their own comfort level.
Of course, if there is a sudden emergency, you must expect more people to enter the room, health permitting. If everything goes as planned, though, you are usually welcome to choose whoever you'd like. Keep in mind: if you don't know what birth is like, it's okay to change your mind on the spot. If a rough contraction hits you mid-dialogue with an in-law, it's absolutely valid for you to scream in their face for them to exit the room ASAP.
9 HOSPITAL OR HOME
As your pregnancy progresses, many medical professionals (whether they're your midwife or OBGYN) will tell you if it's safe to give birth at home, at a birthing centre or at the hospital. If it's safe for you to choose, this is something that you are welcome to take time and think about.
If you are deciding on a home-birth, consider childcare for other potential children that may be home, which room you'd like to welcome their little life in and emergency exits (if you need to make a sudden change).
8 MUSIC OR SILENCE
Whether you are at the hospital, birthing centre or your home, many (if not all) environments welcome the option to play music if need be.
Consider a private room if you decide to listen to music while you give birth at a hospital. If you are sharing a space with another mother, they may not want your personal music blasted while they go through their own labour. Remember, when it's time to push, you will be escorted to your own delivery room. However, labour can take days. With that in mind, be prepared to spend some extra money on your own room if you want to blare out those Beyonce tunes between contractions.
7 C-SECTION OR NATURAL
You will likely have an idea whether you want to deliver vaginally or through caesarean section way before the time comes. It is welcome that you can schedule a date for a c-section, though if the pregnancy tells you it's healthy to deliver naturally, it's often the best decision to make.
Whichever choice you make is fully yours. Recovery will be different for both, so ensure you know what to expect when you make this very personal decision.
6 BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY
Birth photography is a growing interest for new parents. There truly is nothing more special than seeing your genuine expressions of that moment you first held your little one(s).
Whether you want to welcome a stranger or loved one who is a professional photographer into the room or not, consider that this may be the most vulnerable time you will ever experience in your entire life. Though these shots are absolutely priceless, it is a very raw and surreal moment to be part of.
5 BREASTFEEDING OR FORMULA
When the baby arrives, don't be surprised if they wiggle up to your breasts and naturally latch onto your nipple. Yes, this is a very common and natural thing for newborns to do the moment they arrive.
Whether you have decided to breastfeed or formula feed after you've become a parent, some medical professionals will insist that you allow the child to latch for comfort. They have just entered the world from living in your womb for 9 months. It's a very big change for you and the baby. Consider how you'd like to feed them from this day forward.
Water-birthing is a beautiful and natural way to introduce life into this world. Some mothers feel more comfortable sitting in the warm water during labour. Others would rather stand or squat without water around them during contractions. To be honest, some people truly don't know what they want until they're in the moment.
Birthing pools are often offered for home births by midwifery groups, while some hospitals offer birthing tubs as well. Call ahead to ensure this can be an option for your delivery date.
Speaking of comfort, the position that you want to deliver your child from may depend on a few things. Some doctors suggest certain positioning for pushing for a good angle to receive the child, while others encourage you to take whichever position feels right for you.
There are different products that may be available for you during your labour, too: like a birth ball, a squatting stool or an armchair to kneel on. Depending on where you've decided to give birth, call ahead to discuss the options you have when it comes to positions. Remember, you don't always have to push on your back. Gravity isn't necessarily on your side when you consider that classic position.
2 FOOD AND SNACKS
If you have a planned caesarean, whether through choice or due to health concerns, you will likely be unable to eat for a specific amount of time. Discuss this with your doctor.
Some doctors also prohibit eating in hospitals incase of emergency, while others encourage you to snack on small, healthy items to keep your energy up. Trust us, labour is no easy feat. It takes a lot of energy, and you will be burning a lot of it up come the next few hours. Consider bringing snacks, where the closest convenience store is and bring along some extra coconut water for good hydration. Yum!
1 BABY BAG
Along with the baby bag that you'll be lugging around everywhere you and your newborn will go after this, you need to put aside items for your hospital bag, as well.
Here are some great items that you will want to bring along with you in case you stay over night or longer than you expect. Pack items for mom, for dad, for baby(s) and some extra just in case. You'll be happy you did.