For the past months, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from potential VBAC mommies. One thing that they want to know is how to make a birth plan. Personally, I really believe that having a birth plan is like having a master plan for your dream house—you can’t do without it!
I had one when I was pregnant with my first baby, but since I had a C-section, I wasn’t able to use it. At that time, my OB wasn’t supportive with my birth plan, so I thought I didn’t need one.
I was so blessed with my third OB because she was the one who suggested I prepare a birth plan when I told her I want to have a VBA2C with my third baby. I was thankful I did because I was able to actually use it. I gave it to her a month before I gave birth, and we discussed it openly. I was very glad that my OB was so open, treating me not as a patient but as a partner in this journey.
I can vividly recall that during my last stage of labor, I was waiting for the delivery room to be ready since the staff had to prepare a double setup for me just in case I needed an emergency C-section. I was so thirsty due to my blowing and huffing to cope with the contractions, so I asked the nurse for water. She told me I wasn’t allowed to take in any liquid anymore since I was about to give birth already. I answered her that I had a birth plan, and it was approved by my OB. So she looked for it, and true enough, my OB signed it and endorsed it in the nurse station. When the nurse saw it, she allowed my husband to bring water to me. Also, almost all the things that I requested and put in my birth plan were granted. In order to encourage more mommies to make their own birth plan, I want to share my own birth plan here. Hope this will help you in your own journey of having a natural childbirth. Feel free to copy it and tweak it to adjust to your needs.
CATHY’S BIRTH PREFERENCES
- Heplock instead of IV
- No telephone calls in my room
DURING LABOR AND BIRTH
- I would like to experience the most natural, intervention-free birth experience possible
- I wish to be able to move around and change positions at will throughout labor.
- I don’t wish to have pubic shaving.
- I don’t wish to have episiotomy.
- I wish to be able to labor in water either tub or shower throughout labor.
- I would like to eat and drink normally through labor and I will make easily digestible food choices.
- I prefer intermittent Fetal Monitoring that will allow me to be mobile or upright beside the bed.
- Only necessary staff or observers in room. We ask the staff to honor our need for quiet.
- No references to “pain,” “hurt,” or “hard labor”; instead inquiring about “comfort level” as needed
- No offer or suggestion of anesthetics or analgesics or labor enhancing procedures unless requested.
- No blood pressure cuff between readings.
- Minimal number of vaginal exams.
- To use natural oxytocin (nipple) stimulation in the even of a stalled or slowed labor.
- No AROM (Artificial Rupture of Membrane).
- Use mirror to see crowning and birth.
- To delay cord clamping until it stops pulsing.
- To have baby place on my chest following birth.
- To have father cut the cord if possible.
- To avoid routine Pitocin unless I’m showing true signs of postpartum hemorrhage.
- To avoid a cesarean delivery unless the baby’s life is in imminent danger.
- If my primary care provider determines that a Cesarean delivery is indicated, I would like to obtain a second opinion.
- I do not wish my labor support persons to be removed from the room during any surgical preparation.
- I wish my labor support person(s) to take pictures and/or video tape the delivery.
- To have at least 1 arm free/not strapped down to table.
- To be placed at a slightly raised angle.
- For anesthesia to be monitored/adjusted to prevent feelings of suffocation.
- To have screen lowered during baby’s birth.
- To see the baby immediately following delivery in order for us to announce the sex.
- To have baby placed on my chest immediately following birth.
- To have baby in recovery with us.
- Allow vernix to be absorbed into baby’s skin; avoid vigorous rubbing and delay cleaning.
- I would like to delay the eye medication for until a couple hours after birth.
- We do NOT consent to circumcision.
- We do NOT consent to the HEP B vaccine.
- We will decide after birth whether to administer vitamin K.
- Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding. I do not want the baby to be given a pacifier or any artificial nipples.
(Care Provider Signature)
Of course, not all of the items in my birth plan were followed; that’s why I titled it “Birth Preference.” Notice that the general attitude here is openness and respect. I wanted to respect the hospital rules, but at the same time, I want to tell them what I want/what I prefer. My OB and I had to discuss which ones she will allow and which ones are very important to comply. But the beauty of having a birth plan is having a clear vision of what you want to happen during one of the most memorable events of your life, not just leave it to chance. If you notice in the last part, there is a space provided for your OB to sign. This will give the nurses in the labor/delivery area a heads-up that your care provider approved of your birth plan. Personally, this really worked for me, from the time I labored, to my husband cutting my baby’s umbilical cord, to breast-feeding my boy and rooming him in. It was a “perfect” VBAC birth for me, and I attribute its success to having a birth plan. Even in childbirth, Benjamin Franklin’s words ring a bell: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” To read my VBAC story, click here.