If you’ve given birth before, you might see the words “birth plan” and start laughing. After all, it’s not really an experience you can control; your infant is running the show. But you still have to do your best to make it go smoothly. So, beware of these mistakes not to make when creating your birth plan.
What’s in a Birth Plan?
- Requests before birth, such as which medications you’re okay with.
- Requests during labor and delivery, such as the music you’d like to play during labor.
- Vaginal vs. C-section birth preferences.
- Requests for after the delivery, such as whether you want the baby’s cord blood and tissue to be collected.
- Requests for newborn care, such as any breast-feeding intentions.
Just because you wish for something, that doesn’t mean it will come true. A birth plan is about requests, not demands. Do you really want to be rude to the people helping you in the delivery room?
A birth plan can help you envision what’s ahead for you and dispel fears of the unknown. Mentally walk through the process step by step, but don’t expect the universe to obey your preferences. The medical professionals will all be doing their best to help you, so don’t lose your temper over the little things.
Once you’ve written up a draft for your birth plan, put it aside for a day. Then, go back and edit it. First, make sure your plan is clear and understandable. “Support me” could mean reassuring words, a good grip on your legs, or a well-placed pillow. Be specific in your desires.
Second, be reasonable. You can request ice chips to help hydrate you but asking that they be frozen in the shape of bottle nipples is a bit much. Having a baby isn’t like planning a wedding, and when you’re in labor, you won’t even notice if they’re playing your song.
It’s likely that you’re not the only person involved in the baby’s birth. If you have a partner, be sure to consult them about their feelings and choices, too. They’ll want to know what’s expected of them, so don’t just assume they’ll be able to read your mind or interpret your groans.
Talk with them about the most important things on your list, such as the medications you’re okay with, how you want to feed your baby, and if you want to store the umbilical stem cells for any future health needs. Do your research together to resolve any questions about the truth about cord blood banking and ensure you’re both on the same page.
The biggest mistake not to make when creating your birth plan? Scribbling it down on the way to the hospital. If you want to know more about what it means to store your baby’s cord blood and tissue, contact New England Cord Blood Bank.