Medela’s Guide For Writing A Birth Plan

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Medela’s Guide For Writing A Birth Plan

April 18, 2016

A birth plan is just what it sounds like: a plan you create that describes how you would like your ideal birthing experience to proceed. It is a way for you and your partner to communicate your wishes about labour and delivery with your healthcare team. It is also a way for you and your partner to visualize labour and delivery in advance so you can plan strategies for how to handle the unexpected.

When you’re developing your birth plan, try to remember that it is not written in stone. Things do not always go according to plan, and the main objective is that you and your baby are healthy at the end of the day.

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A birth plan usually touches on a number of key questions:

  • Who will be with you?
    • You and your partner may be the only ones in the room, beyond your healthcare team. Or you might want to have a close friend or family member, or even a doula present to help out.
  • Where will you be?
    • Are you planning to give birth in an hospital, or will you need to set up your home for the delivery if you’ve chosen a home birth.
  • How do you want to manage labour?
    • There are many tools at your disposal to help you manage your labour such as: taking a shower or bath, using an exercise ball, listening to music. This would be a good time to decide if you want to bring a camera or video camera as well.
  • What types of pain management do you want to try?
    • At what stage will you want to take advantage of available pain management strategies, including medications, and which ones will you consider?
  • How do you want to feed your baby?
    • If you want to breastfeed your baby, you will need to start breastfeeding almost as soon as your baby is born. If for some reason your baby cannot breastfeed right at birth, but you want to feed your baby breastmilk, then you will need to start breastpumping shortly after birth.
    • Health Canada recommends that your baby receive breastmilk exclusively for the first 6 months of his or her life and that your baby should continue to receive breastmilk for the first 2 years of his or her life.
  • What about unexpected situations?
    • Consider the possibilities of needing a caesarean, forceps, vacuum, etc. Think about ways you would like to deal with these situations as they arise.

Once you have developed your birth plan, share your thoughts with your healthcare team. Make sure that they are prepared to support your wishes. You may also want to speak with other moms who have delivered at your hospital to gain insight into their experiences. If you are concerned that you will not be fully supported in any aspect of your birth plan, this is the time to come up with ways to shore up support in advance.

Read the full article for more tips on Getting Ready For Baby

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