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Our (Incomplete) Birth Plan

By Katie |

Prior to getting pregnant, I had never heard of a birth plan. I mean, I guess on some level I realized that women went in with guidelines for their labor/delivery and hospital stay, but I didn’t realize that this was usually in the form of a written list. And once I discovered this, I didn’t have the foggiest idea of where to begin with ours.

I’m kind of a moderate when it comes to pregnancy and delivery. I’m not especially new-agey, I’m not especially devoted to a single form of pain relief or a philosophy of delivery and parenting. I don’t have very many strong opinions about what should happen at birth, though as I already discussed this week, I’ve come up with a few definite nos. But the yeses? They are few and far between.

Which is why my birth plan is unbelievably short.

Note that the list is not in order of importance, okay?

1. Manage pain without an epidural, and preferably without IV or IM narcotics.

2. Manage nausea and if possible, don’t throw up during labor.

3. Have a healthy baby.

And…that’s it.

I don’t know how I’m going to want to push, I don’t know how I’m going to want to be positioned or what I’m going to want to be doing during contractions. I don’t know who I will or will not want in my delivery room (except my MIL, because heck no) or what I will want to do to pass the time. I don’t know if I’m going to want music or movies or complete silence. There are just about 800,000 unknowns because this is totally uncharted territory to me.

I handle pain pretty well. I had my tonsils removed at age 19 and took only Tylenol. I had brain surgery at 24 and was off narcotics the second day where others stayed on them for weeks. But labor? It’s pain of a completely different nature.

So as the weeks tick down and labor becomes increasingly imminent, what items should I be adding to my birth plan? Or is having an open mind and being totally indecisive a good thing?

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About Katie



Katie is a former teacher, part-time PT, wife, and first-time mother to the baby with the best ears on the Internet. You can find more of her grammatically questionable writing at her blog, Overflowing Brain. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Our (Incomplete) Birth Plan

  1. Ryley says:

    Maybe a second section for AFTER the baby is born?
    Delayed cord clamping was important to me. so i put that in there, and that I’d like the baby to room in or have someone go with them whenever they left the room.

    That WAS my plan, but when they take the baby at 2am for a hearing test we both looked at each other and said “Eh, just take him.” :)

    My birth plan was long. and DUMB. i look back now and laugh. I included things like i wanted to be able to wear my contacts. umm.. ok. :)

    Also, some (most?) hospitals give you oxitocin after birth to shrink the uterus, via an IV. i had no idea what they were doing last time, but asked not to have that this time. :)

    I’ll try to think of what other weird things you should know about! :)

  2. Liz says:

    Mine was very open (but did include some of those post-devliery items Ryley mentioned — you have to explicitly state a desire for no separation after birth if you want it at our hospital). That worked best for me. And it was great because the two births were pretty different, though both were med-free. Good luck!

  3. N says:

    Some of the most important things I included were having a hep-lock vs. an IV line (basically the needle is in, if needed, but you aren’t hooked up) which was SO nice as I didn’t have to worry about toting around a pole, since lying in bed is the worst position in terms of comfort for me during contractions. And then also, intermittent monitoring (vs. continuously being strapped to the belt monitors) which again, allowed me to be up in the shower (LIFESAVER) and move around mostly how I wanted. You can also include things like not being asked to rate your pain, if you want to focus on the positive…or not being asked about pain medication unless you request it…or other things like that. Good luck!

  4. Nat says:

    I wouldn’t worry about throwing up during labor. If anything you will feel better after you do…(from experience).

  5. El says:

    Mine was simple. Have a healthy baby. Keep the baby in my room if possible.

  6. Jessica says:

    Don’t do a birth plan, you’ll jinks yourself. I had a page of things I wanted and didn’t want and the only thing I got off of it was my baby.

  7. Dolores says:

    LOL–I was so worried about figuring out our birth plan before the baby’s due date! I finally got it done just a few days before my last pre-pregnancy drs. visit–where I was told I would be admitted to the hospital that very day for an emergency c-section (serious blood pressure spike)! The whole plan went out the window–but everything went just fine and we welcomed our beautiful son just a week earlier than expected=)

  8. Christine says:

    I had zero birth plans, and laughed a bit when the nurses asked me. I was choosing the “ignorance is bliss” route. That being said, I also feared throwing up during labor (didn’t happen, not even close) and I knew I wanted an epidural
    (which was heavenly). When I look back on the whole experience I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m sort of glad I had no plans, which meant less room for disappointment. I also trusted my doctor 100% and she was absolutely wonderful. I really felt like she made the best decisions for me and with me, including an episiotomy after 3 hours of pushing. Good luck, and know that even if things don’t go exactly the way you were hoping, the outcome will still be just as wonderful!

  9. Katie says:

    Even though you don’t know exactly what you’ll want, you can include in your birth plan that you’d like the option of moving around, changing positions, getting in the shower, having music/movies, dimmed lights, or anything else you think you might want to do. That way, it’s not a set-in-stone plan and there’s some flexibility, but if you DO want those things that option will be available to you. Just a thought. =)

  10. Michelle Tibbs says:

    I’m a labor and delivery nurse. You don’t need a birth plan. You especially don’t need a hostile birth plan (believe me, I’ve seen them). Just talk to your nurse, let her know what you want and don’t want and we’ll make it happen. We’re in this together, with one goal–a healthy baby.

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