Creating A Customized Birth Plan

While pregnancy comes with a variety of surprises, one moment that can create the most anxiety for women and couples is the thought of labor and delivery. Taking control of the moment and creating a plan can help to mitigate any fears surrounding the event. A birthing plan can cover various topics, including whether or not a woman wants to receive medical pain relief, the type of labor exercises, and even what accessories to bring in a hospital bag. Consider discussing the following three topics with a physician before the trip to the hospital.

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1. Discuss medical interventions

While most people picture c-sections as the ultimate labor and delivery medical interventions, other options also exist. Procedures such as epidurals or even lighter anesthesia can be used to minimize discomfort during the labor process. But not all hospitals or birthing centers offer the same pain management portfolios. So, if a pregnant woman wants to include medical pain management methods, speaking with a midwife or OB/GYN to determine what will be available is a good idea.

2. Managing ambulatory expectations

Especially since many women and couples take birthing classes during pregnancy, a common theme is encouraging labor progression through movement. Movement can include walking and using a birthing ball or even using water therapy to help keep the body engaged and help a woman shift through the active labor stage. But not all hospitals offer mobile fetal monitoring or accessories like birthing balls. And some hospitals may have stricter guidelines on what activities a pregnant woman can do. Speaking with a physician or midwife can help manage expectations and allow pregnant women to create alternative solutions.

3. Nominating an advocate

Labor and delivery can be a difficult time physically. And as delivery draws nearer, situations can become more chaotic. However, a pregnant woman may be in too much discomfort to effectively articulate needs or concerns. Having an advocate, whether a loved one, doula, or a midwife that knows and conveys a pregnant woman’s wishes to the birthing staff is critical so that the birth plan is followed as much as possible. Making sure that the individual who will act as an advocate for the pregnant woman is listed can ensure a clear flow of communication during labor and delivery.

Clear communication is essential

While a birthing plan can’t always be followed entirely, having a general road map can ensure that miscommunications are less likely to occur. Pregnant women and couples should discuss the birthing plan with physicians, midwives, and any support people that will be in the room to ensure that all individuals are in agreement and understand overall goals.

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