The Perfect Birth Plan Exists
Yes, there are some women who give birth to their babies in cars on the way to the hospital (Have you seen the YouTube videos?!). I even have a friend of a friend who started to give birth while on the toilet. True story. But despite the occassional horror story or urban legend, most women are still giving birth in a hospital or home: exactly where they planned to give birth. And before that baby decides to make their appearance, you can create the perfect birth plan with the type of birth you have in mind.
Your baby is beyonce
Years ago, I walked into a bar right when the song “All Right Now” by Free started playing. It was freaking incredible. I felt like the most magical badass ever. A la Beyonce at Coachella. Like I was Jonathan Van Ness in a pair of high-heel booties. This is how I wanted my baby to feel when she entered the world. Like Beyonce. Or JVN.
Creating your natural birth plan sets the stage for your baby to enter the world. It gives you the control you need over an otherwise unpredictable and uncontrollable situation.
Best laid birth plans
Now, the caveat is: best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. So, no matter how much we might plan for something, things can happen. Circumstances can change. But if you plan your baby’s birth and think through as many variables as possible, you might be able to get a few of the things you want; and if you’re lucky like me, you can get them all.
Thinking of a Natural birth?
This birth plan can be adapted and customized, but it was created with my natural birth in mind. I began creating my birth plan knowing that I wanted a natural birth, but I was open to whatever had to happen so that my baby arrived safely. I already decided that I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I felt I needed an epidural or pain medication. And I wasn’t going to let myself feel like any less of a mother if I had a caesarean delivery. All birth stories would result in me having a baby, and that’s what mattered.
a cinderella story
Allow me a sports metaphor, if you will. I prepared to give birth like it was a boxing match. Picture the training montage in Rocky. I’m out there running flights of stairs and punching raw meat carcasses (figuratively). I did everything I could to prepare myself with the understanding that sometimes, there are opponents that you aren’t ready to defeat. I could be okay with that. I had never given birth before, so I didn’t know what this pain/opponent would feel like. It could’ve been a TKO!
It turned out that I handled the pain just fine (don’t ask my mother-in-law about my scary Exorcist voice). I labored for 23 hours and pushed that baby out without an epidural or medication.
Planning for a natural birth and creating this birth plan got me there. So allow me to be your coach for a moment as we prep for your big match.
Tips to Creating the Perfect Birth Plan
Write it out.
I kept mine on a Google document so I could access it on my phone at any time. My daughter was born via spontaneous birth and my water broke one month before her due date. ONE WHOLE MONTH. I had not yet packed my hospital overnight bag and my husband and I had not put together her bassinet at home. But, thankfully, I already had my birth plan typed up and saved in my Google docs, so I handed it to my nurse when we checked in to the hospital.
Include your partner. Get them on board.
This is your show, so I think you should have the final say, but it might be nice to get your support person’s thoughts on some of the areas, especially if that person is the father or co-parent. Their buy-in will also be helpful if your partner is charged with making sure the doctors/nurses/midwives/doulas follow your birth plan.
Remember to give the birth plan to your nurses.
Your birth plan is only as powerful as much as it is shared with the people who matter. If it sits on a piece of paper on your fridge, it does nothing. Make sure it gets in the hands of the people who can help you implement the perfect natural birth plan you created.
You call the shots.
You get to decide what this experience feels like. We all wish we could create the world our children live in. And while that isn’t a possibility, it is possible for you to create the world your child first feels when they enter this world. Consider it one of your first real acts as a mom.
how to create perfect birth plan
An ideal birth plan, especially one with a natural birth in mind, has all of the following sections:
part 1: Environment
- This is how the room feels and the variables that affect the feel of a room: lighting and sound and temperature.
- What is the lighting like? All lights on? Dimly lit room?
- How are people speaking? Does this matter to you? I instructed that I wanted calm and happy voices. I didn’t want to hear urgency or fear in their voices.
- Do you prefer colder or hotter rooms? Temperature matters so much to me. I felt that I would rather be sweaty and sticky and warm than cold because I wanted to have a lot of skin-to-skin when my baby was born.
part 2: support
- Who do you want in the room to support you while giving birth?
- List the person, their name, their contact information, and how long you want them in the room. For example, I wanted my husband in the room the entire time, but my sister and my mother-in-law only in the room until the baby was born.
part 3: Induction
- It is good to cover all possible methods: cervical ripening agent, membrane stripping, manual water breaking, Pitocin (or other medication that may be used to induce labor)
- I am so glad I ithought about them all when creating my perfect birth plan because they were needed. My labor wasn’t progressing quickly so we had to take some induction measures. I was adamantly opposed to Pitocin, but I was okay with other things. So when my midwife offered Pitocin, I told her to try stripping my membranes first. It ended up working great and we didn’t have to do anything else.
part 4: pain relief
- Do you want pain relief medication? Do you want it, but only if you ask for it? This is one of more important parts to consider in creating your birth plan.
- I requested that I did not want anyone offering me pain relief medication. My goal was a natural childbirth and I only wanted to use pain relief if I decided independently that I couldn’t tolerate the pain any more. I worried that if someone offered it to me, I would feel defeated.
part 5: coaching
- Coaching or guided support during pushing can help prevent tearing. I was monstrously afraid of tearing and requested that my midwife give me guided support to tell me when and how to push.
- I still remember the moment during my labor when I finally understood what “bear down” meant. I think I even said “Ohhhhhhh! I get it now! I know how to bear down!!!”
part 6: laboring and pushing positions
- Do you want to labor in a bed, walking, in a shower, in a tub, on a yoga ball, in a boat, with a goat… Seriously, though. So many options. Decide how many options you want.
- I requested lots of freedom of movement with intermittent fetal monitoring.
- I also requested to bounce on a yoga ball, to dance and sway, and to use a birthing bar in a more upright position when pushing.
part 7: After delivery
- Some things to cover:
- How much skin-to-skin do you want and how soon?
- Do you want delayed bathing?
- Do you want delayed cord clamping? If so, how long?
part 8: Nursing
- Would you like assistance with breastfeeding? A lactation consultant to be provided? Or do you plan to only use formula? I was really committed to breastfeeding and asked for nurse and lactattion consultant assistance in learning how to breastfeed, as it didn’t come naturally for me and my baby.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about creating your perfect birth plan
Even if you spend hours planning and crafting and creating your perfect birth plan, things might go awry. But stay focused on the fact that a perfect birth isn’t one where your birth plan was followed out perfectly. A perfect birth is one where you successfully deliver your baby. That’s it. So if you plan for natural and end up with a caesarean, OH WELL! Your baby is here. You did it. Celebrate that.
So turn on Free’s “All Right Now” and rock out, mama. You birthed a tiny human!!! That is perfection!