You read that title correctly. In our experience we see that doctors don’t love when their patients come in with birth plans. This tends to make them think that you have rigid ideas about your birth and it might get in the way of their medical care. We do however suggest that you make a list of your birth preferences. Preferences make clear what you are hoping to have happen but also sets the tone of flexibility. Doctors love when they can work together with their patients to keep both mom & baby safe while also making preferences happen whenever possible.
Things to keep in mind
Keep your birth preferences to one page-you don’t want to arrive with multiple pages. It will become confusing for your health care team and they will most likely forget a lot of what they read.
Only have things that you want for active labor, delivery, and just after birth. You don’t have to include anything about early labor, things you want when you are at home, or induction methods. If you would like to make a list for your support people to keep in mind for you during this time, you can put together a separate list.
Things to include
- When would you like medical interventions to happen?
- What are your preferences on pain medication?
- Who will cut the cord?
- Would you like to delayed clamping or are you doing cord blood banking?
- How do you plan to feed your baby?
- Would you like to delay newborn procedures?
Your Doula can help work through a lot of these options with you so that you can become very clear on what your wishes are.
Who to give it to?
Give it to the nurse AFTER you are admitted. There is no sense in going through your wishes with the triage nurse when she is not going to be taking care of you throughout the labour. The triage nurse is assessing if you are in active labour and if it is time to admit you into a birthing suite.
Don’t expect your health care providers to remember everything on your list. It is important to know what is important to you so that you can mention them in the right moments. You don’t need to go over the delivery points if you are early in the labour process. Have another discussion close to the pushing stage so that the information is fresh in their minds. It is great to have a Doula to help with this process.