Making a Birth Plan

Personalize Your Birth Experience

Every woman wants to bring her baby into the world safely, confidently, and comfortably. Developing a birth plan ensures that you have the birth experience you want, by outlining your preferences around pain management, environment, comfort measures and positions, and delivery.

Creating Your Birth Plan

There’s a lot to think about as you prepare for your baby’s birth. But identifying your labor and delivery wishes ahead of time will help you feel relaxed and confident when the big moment arrives.

Here are some main areas to consider when creating your birth plan, which will help your doctors and nurses provide you with the highest level of personalized care:        

        Previous Birth Experiences

If you’ve given birth before, think about what went well, and what could have been better. Also, make sure to mention any medical issues or complications you may have had during pregnancy, labor, or delivery.

Support

Decide who you’d like to have with you during labor and delivery. This could be a partner or spouse, a family member, or both. If you wish to have your child witness a sibling’s birth, you’ll need to invite a caregiver in addition to your partner or support person. Please review options with your doctor and nursing staff to learn about any hospital restrictions.

Pain Management

What type of strategies would you like to use to help manage pain? Options include relaxation and breathing techniques, massage, movement (birthing ball, different positions), and water therapy in a tub, as well as pain medication or an epidural. Your nurse is there to offer comfort, but you can decide how much you’d like her to be involved.

Environment

ThedaCare’s birthing suites provide you with as home-like an environment as possible. You’ll be able to control the lighting and temperature in the room, and can also request relaxing music or total quiet. Consider bringing items from home to feel more at ease, such as pictures, focal points, CDs, massage items, or pillows.

Position/Comfort Measures

Position changes and movement can help both you and your baby during labor. You may want to walk, use a rocking chair, tub, shower, or birthing ball, or try pelvic rocking or any position that provides comfort. Your nurse can help you find a position that offers the most benefit.

Delivery—Vaginal

What would you like to happen during delivery, and immediately after? You can request a mirror to view the birth, and note if your partner would like to cut the umbilical cord. You can also decide whether you’d like your baby to go directly on your chest (skin-to-skin) after birth, or to a radiant warmer.

Delivery—Cesarean

You still have choices during a Cesarean birth. If you’re awake during the procedure, which you likely will be, you can bring one support person into the room with you. You can request a mirror for both you and your partner to view the birth with, and also request that your partner trim the cord once the baby is placed in the radiant warmer.

Cord Blood Banking

If you plan on banking cord blood, you’ll need to purchase a cord blood kit ahead of time, and bring it with you to the hospital. Cord blood will be collected immediately following delivery. You’ll then need to return the kit to the cord blood bank for storage.

After Baby Is Born

You are encouraged to keep your baby with you as much as possible, so you can bond and gain confidence in your parenting skills. However, you can choose whether you’d like your baby to stay in the room with you, or in the nursery.

Feeding

Whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed with breast milk or formula, our trained staff, including lactation consultants, will support your choice and offer assistance.

You and your doctor will work together to create a birth plan that meets your needs and wishes. Your birth plan will be shared with your labor and delivery nurse, too. We’ll make every attempt to follow your birth plan, unless medical needs dictate otherwise.

Ask your doctor for a birth plan form at your next prenatal visit. Or, you can download the form now and print and complete it before your appointment.