When you're thinking about having a baby, women often have their own idea of the "perfect birth." One way to ensure this idea is to write out a birth plan.

A birth plan is a written record of your ideas and expectations for the birth of your baby. Having a birth plan allows your doctor and nurse to know your preferences during labor and delivery. However, it's important to recognize that your birth plan isn't set in stone. Situations can arise during labor and delivery that may cause your doctor to forgo your birth plan options in order to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

Birth plans are as individual as the women who write them. Here are a just few examples of issues you may address in yours:

  • What type of environment do you prefer? Do you want dim lights, music or to wear your own clothes? Will you allow residents to be at the birth of your child? Who would you prefer to be in the delivery room with you, if possible?
  • During the first stage of labor do you want to remain mobile or would you prefer to remain in bed?
  • Who do you want present for the birth of your baby? Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord?
  • Do you want pain medications? Do you want to avoid them at all costs? Have them only if you ask? Or as soon as possible? What types would you like to use? Options include non-medicinal, IV medications and epidurals.
  • Is there a specific position that you would like to give birth in? Do you want a mirror positioned so that you can see the delivery?
  • Do you want to have an episiotomy? Some women do, but others only want them if they will tear. Others may want to avoid it entirely.
  • After the baby is born, how do you plan to feed him or her?

What's the right birth plan for you?

This is just a sample of the types of questions you can consider for your birth plan. If you have other questions, speak with your doctor. He or she can help you answer other questions and offer their advice.

To find a doctor or speak to a nurse, call Consult-A-Nurse® at (951) 788-3463, 24 hours a day. Visit our obstetrics page to learn more about our women's and children's services.

Source: ChildBirth.org