How to Create a Solid Birth Plan

You may think that you don’t need one, but a birth plan is essential as you prepare for your baby. It specifies issues such as where you want to give birth to how to manage an emergency situation. Remember that you cannot always control what happens in labor and delivery. You will therefore need to remain flexible in case the medical team needs to go against your plan. 

What to Think About

Many Kenyan women have limited options as they highly depend on their insurance cover, or the lack of it. In this regard many are forced to take up what is available in public hospitals. In most cases if you decide to use a public hospital you will have to kick your plan out of the window and accept what the hospital offers. 

Private birthing centers however are more flexible and will want to provide you with what you want. You need to, therefore, be specific and detailed in case of emergencies or the medical team changes. 

Remember to include any religious or cultural preferences in giving birth. The following are some of the things you may want to include in your plan:

  • Birthing place – Do you prefer a home birth or the more conventional route of a hospital birth. 
  • Labour – There are a few questions you need to consider such as whether you need to move around freely and if you want your partner with you (if your hospital will allow it) etc.
  • Delivery – You could specify things such as your birthing position and any preferences on episiotomy. 
  • After delivery care – You will need to specify a few things such as whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your newborn. 

Labour

It’s important that you let your medical team know what your preferences are during labour. A few of the questions you may need to answer are such as:

  • Do you prefer to move around freely or do you want help with a birth stool, squatting ball, or even a warm bath or shower
  • Do you prefer to deal with the pain naturally through back rubs and massages? Or will you need the help of an epidural or any other pain meds. 
  • You need to know if you want your water broken or have it break naturally
  • Who would you like to be with you? Do you prefer your partner with you, a relative, or a friend, and for how long should they be in the room.
  • Would you like the process to be photographed or filmed
  • Any other needs; religious, cultural or otherwise

Delivery 

  • Your birth environment – Specify if you would prefer music or a quiet room, low lighting etc.
  • Your birthing position
  • If you would like to avoid an episiotomy
  • If you want your baby placed on your chest after delivery
  • Or if you want a C-section – Specify if you would prefer to stay awake for the procedure

After-Delivery Care

  • You can specify when and who will cut the umbilical cord
  • Any other needs; religious, cultural or otherwise

When to Start 

The best time to create a plan is before reaching 34 weeks of pregnancy. You need to carry out as much research as possible in regards to your birthing plan. Always involve your doctor in such matters. Please ensure that you ask as many questions and do your research before embarking on creating a birth plan. 

Disclaimer

#Note that development varies from one child to another

#This content is intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.

Sources: babycenter, webmd, mumsvillage

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