So you found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations! You will quickly realize that there is a whole world of questions that you probably won’t have the answers to. Words like “glucose test, epidural, and birth plan” are a few that I didn’t know a whole lot about. The doctor kept asking me about my birth plan, if I had made one, and what I was planning on putting in it. I had no idea where to even start.
A birth plan is an extremely personal thing. There isn’t one that is exactly like the next. And you will quickly learn the importance of having one for the medical staff or midwives to refer back. It sets the tone to know exactly what your expectations are. Creating one for my first child eliminated some anxiety about the whole labor and delivery process. There’s just something about having a written plan for you to visually see that makes you feel like you can do this thing!
Start by thinking about the things that are most important to you. I highly recommend downloading a birth plan template. There are tons of free custom options for your birth plan online. It’s so nice to check off the little boxes (physically or mentally) of decisions you make throughout your pregnancy. You will be able to fill in each line with specific preferences and expectations. There may be things listed on the templates that you didn’t even think of! From your favorite music to your pain relief method, write it all down. I made multiple copies to give the nurses for my file. I kept one on hand for reference as well. Things can get a little squirrely in the delivery room.
Do Your Own Research
Have you given any thought about what medical services you do or don’t want your baby to have? Do you want alone time with you, your spouse, and the baby for the first 24 hours? I am so thankful for the medical teams that assist with labor and delivery. It’s a difficult job. However, you need to know what is the best option for medical care for yourself and your child/children. The hospital staff sees thousands of new and expecting mothers a year. The importance of knowing what their standard of care falls right in line with your decision-making skills as a mom. If there are things that you feel are unnecessary or different from the “norm,” don’t feel pressured by the medical team. You are your child’s only advocate!
This is a difficult one. I know how much I like to control. Everything about the labor and delivery of your children is unknown. It can be terrifying and overwhelming. As much faith and love you put into your birth plan, know that some things are going to change along the way. Those changes are absolutely for the best interest of you and your child. Remember that! I’ve learned that an ultrasound can only tell you so much. Each birth is beautiful and different, and sometimes you have to roll with the punches.
Be Kind to yourself
Can I say it again for the people in the back? You are literally growing a human inside of your body! If natural birth is what you want, but the baby has shifted and the pain is worse than anything you could’ve imagined, be kind to yourself. If the nurse has tried giving you an IV and has successfully blown out your veins, be kind to yourself. If your significant other is watching MTV’s Ridiculousness while you are pushing an eight-pound baby out of your no-no square, be kind to yourself.
You truly are a superhero. If no one else tells you–I am proud of you. Pregnancy is so full of life and joy. Not many people talk about the fears and concerns of the whole process. When I was pregnant, I couldn’t even talk about the birth. Two kids later, and I’m still alive. I pee my pants occasionally, but I’m here! By making a birth plan, you are saying that you are ready for what this journey of motherhood. That’s an amazing thing!
Help some new mommas out. What was on your birth plan? Share in the comments below.
For more local pregnancy and postpartum information, check out Charleston Moms Pregnancy and Postpartum guide.
Also, look for information about Charleston Mom’s annual (highly anticipated) BLOOM celebration for new and expecting mothers. It’s a party you won’t want to miss!