Creating a Birth Plan: What to Include

Creating a Birth Plan: What to Include

Creating a Birth Plan: What to Include

Creating a birth plan is an important step in preparing for your upcoming delivery. A birth plan is a document outlining your preferences and expectations for labor, delivery, and post-delivery care. It’s an opportunity to communicate your preferences and discuss them with your healthcare team so that everyone is on the same page. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what to include in your birth plan and why it’s so important.

How Birth Plans Help

Birth plans help families clearly communicate with their provider & nursing team by:

  • expressing a family’s thoughtful birthing options to set a climate of expectancy,
  • securing informed consent and engaging in shared decisionmaking

Address What You DO and DON’T Want

DO want: good communication, a listening provider, medical expertise, compassion, patience, shared decision making and continuous support.

DON’T want: restriction of movement, coercion, to be rushed, poor communication, negative energy or comments from staff.

Know Your Pain Management Options

Every birthing space has different capabilities for meeting your comfort needs.  Whether it’s your home, a birth center, or a hospital, pick a space that can give you the maximum amount of pain relief options that will help you get your birthing day goal.  Here are a few things you may want to ensure your birthing space offers:

  • birth doula
  • space for movement
  • dopplers for monitoring baby
  • birth balls
  • peanut balls
  • nitrous oxide
  • hot shower
  • deep birthing tub/pool
  • birthing stool
  • diffusers
  • music
  • lighting options
  • IV pain medications
  • epidural

Choose Who You Want In The Room

It’s critical to have supportive people around you during your birth.  Birthing people should not be left alone to labor.  Choose people who can give you emotional and physical support and who can be an advocate for you.  An advocate who is informed about normal physiologic birth, medical interventions, and how to communicate with your medical teams is invaluable.  They can be a family member or a professional birth doula. A professional birth doula provides continuous emotional, physical, and informational support to the birthing person before, during, and after childbirth. Birth doulas can help you create a birth plan and explore all the options available to you.

Include A Doula In Your Plan

One of the most helpful components of creating an individualized birth plan is seeking out the assistance of a birth doula. A birth doula acts as an expert who can not only provide evidence based information about childbirth while also validating each family’s individual desires for your birth experience. By working alongside the family’s healthcare provider and medical team, the doula assists in keeping the family apprised of any changes that may arise during labor, thus helping them make more well-rounded decisions about birth. Additionally, having a doula present during labor has been proven to reduce the rate of cesarean births and decrease the amount of time spent pushing during birth. As such, hiring a birth doula can be extremely beneficial to the mother-baby dyad during the entire labor process.

Discuss Your Birth Plan With Your Care Provider

It’s important that your doctor or midwife are aware that you have a birth plan and are aware of any changes you make along the way. Take time to discuss one major goal per provider meeting over the last two months of medical visits. This allows enough time to create agreement on items and share reasoning with one another.  Once the review is completed, a final plan can be printed and added to your birthing file-ready for the big day!

Be Prepared To Change Your Mind

It is probably better to refer to the “birth plan” as your “birth preferences”, because birth is unpredictable.  As the birthing day (or days) unfolds, it’s important to be flexible, so you can respond to the actual way your birth is unfolding. Your birth doula can help you stay on track with your desires and provide additional support if any complications arise. Additionally, a birth doula can help you understand potential medical interventions that may become necessary and provide emotional reassurance throughout labor. Change is a part of the birthing process. Be ready to shift.

Doula Shares Tips to Avoid Inductions Close to End-of-the-Year Holidays

Doula Shares Tips to Avoid Inductions Close to End-of-the-Year Holidays

Doula Shares Tips to Avoid Inductions Close to End-of-the-Year Holidays

As a doula, I am often asked how to avoid inductions close to end-of-the-year holidays. This can be hard to accomplish because the induction conversation may stem from medically unnecessary suggestions that scare families into labor earlier than needed.

I have gathered a few tips over the years that can help reduce the risk of being induced close to the end-of-the-year holiday season. In this blog post, I will share my knowledge and experience to help you prepare for a safe, healthy birth when the time comes.

What is a medical induction of birth?

Labor induction is the use of medications or other methods to bring on (induce) labor, according to ACOG. (htt) Labor is induced to stimulate contractions of the uterus in an effort to have a vaginal birth.

Labor induction may be recommended if the health of the birthing person or baby is at risk. Some of the reasons for inducing labor include the following:

  • Your pregnancy has lasted more than 41 to 42 weeks
  • You have health problems, such as problems with your heart, lungs, or kidneys
  • There are problems with the placenta
  • There are problems with the fetus, such as poor growth
  • There is a decrease in amniotic fluid
  • You have an infection of the uterus
  • You have gestational diabetes or had diabetes mellitus before pregnancy
  • You have chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, or eclampsia
  • You have pre-labor rupture of membranes (PROM)

Why do doctors induce labor near end-of-the-year holidays?

Over the years, I’ve observed the following reasons:

  • Convenience: to reduce the likelihood of them being called in to work during the holiday
  • Client management: doctors have so many patients, they must manage a portion of patients by scheduling birthing dates through inductions which are predictable
  • Profitable: to make sure they can make money from as many patients as possible because they can’t get paid for patients when they are not present for your birth.
  • Liability: doctors fear something going wrong with the pregnancy over a long holiday weekend

Are there any benefits to being induced during end-of-the-year holidays?

One potential benefit to being induced close to end-of-the-year holiday includes:

  • Potentially better staffing due to lower patient volumes.

However, research has not found that this results in improved outcomes. The ARRIVE trial, which compared elective inductions with expectant management, showed no difference in neonatal outcomes.

 What are the risks of end-of-the-year inductions to Black & Brown families?

Since we know that the induction of labor increases the risk of cesarean section and all the associated risks for the birthing person and baby, it is important to avoid induction if it is not medically necessary. Since birth outcomes for Black & Brown families are statistically worse, then anything that places them at risk for complications should be avoided. Families should weigh the potential benefits of being induced near a holiday against the potential risks. It can be helpful to have this conversation with your birth team which includes a doula who can help provide additional support and information about the process and be present with you if you choose one.

Additional considerations for Black & Brown birthing people to eliminate risks of maternal & infant mortality

Be sure to:

  • Be well-informed about your right to informed consent for every procedure and your right to refuse interventions
  • Have a loved one present during the birth
  • Use Birth Preferences document to communicate your care desires
  • Get the support of an advocate for times of decision making
  • Hire a doula

How can a doula help?

A birth doula can provide evidence-based information, emotional and physical support, and can even help you understand research like the ARRIVE trial.  The goal is to make decisions with confidence. It is especially important for Black birthing people to prioritize their safety, as Black maternal health continues to be severely impacted by racial discrimination, health disparities, inadequate access to care, and higher rates of poverty. These issues leave Black mothers at greater risk when it comes to both maternal and infant mortality. Thus, it is important to obtain prenatal care from culturally connected providers, develop strong birth plans that prioritize safety, obtain postpartum follow-up care, and have access to birthing options free from implicit bias or discrimination.

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