What’s a Birth Plan and What Should It Include?

By on May 5, 2021

Planning ahead for going into labor can seem like a no-brainer – after all, it’s likely one of the most important dates on your calendar. A birth plan can likely help get some of your concerns addressed and help you know what to expect from the process. In this episode of Healthful Women, Dr. Fox talks with Dr. Stephanie Melka about birth plans, some best practices, and things to consider.

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a written document that outlines your wishes for certain important decisions during labor. Some important things might include whether you have an epidural, how you want your baby delivered, and which specific people are allowed in the delivery room with you. Although you can find many examples online, a birth plan should be unique to anything you want addressed before, during, and after you give birth. Some women don’t use a birth plan, but others do. Either way, it’s a way to make sure your labor goes according to your wishes as best as possible. Why Would I Need a Birth Plan?

Dr. Melka explains that “Years ago, medicine was very paternalistic… Women would undergo procedures or interventions without being asked or told what was happening. And the birth plan sort of came as a way to start reclaiming autonomy.” For this reason, a birth plan can be a way to make sure your wishes are understood even if you’re in a compromised state during labor. However, Dr. Melka and Dr. Fox discuss, medical training today can be very different and some things that women prefer to avoid during labor are no longer routine practice.

This means that a birth plan is more so an effective way to start important conversations with your obstetrician, midwife, or maternal fetal medicine specialist. This way, your doctor can discuss situations in which certain care steps can be beneficial and how – before you’re in a high-pressure situation.

What Should a Birth Plan Include?

Effective birth plans usually include things that are truly elective, like administering epidurals, people that are allowed or not allowed in the delivery room, and steps you’d like taken for your child after they’re born. It also allows you to ensure that certain requests are feasible – for example, some women want to deliver in a birthing tub, which is not available in many institutions.

So, the best way to begin creating a birth plan is by talking with your doctor who can give you guidance on what to expect, what options will be best decided by you, and any policies put in place (either by your healthcare team or the hospital) that can affect your decisions.

Schedule a Consultation

Looking forward to your delivery can be scary and exciting. To learn more about what to expect and begin discussing your preferences with your maternal fetal medicine specialist, schedule a consultation to meet with our award-winning team. We invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.

Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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