Checklist: How to Write a Birth Plan

No need to write a novel, since so much of your D-day is subject to last-minute change. But here are the top questions modern mamas should ask themselves and discuss with their docs and partners.

Keep your birth plan as concise as possible -- and make sure your partner and relevant family members, like your mom or sister, know your wishes too (hospital staff can be notorious for not reading birth plans thoroughly).

___ Will you have a labor coach? Who will it be (can your husband handle, or are you better off designating Mom)?

___ Who do you want or (sometimes more importantly) don't you want in the delivery room? Any special instructions (everyone stays north of your belly button, for example)?

___ Are there some people you'd prefer to visit soon afterward instead? (You adore your sis-in-law, say, but can?t deal with having an entourage in the delivery room).

___ Will someone be taking photos or videotaping? Does the hospital allow it?

___ Do you want anything special in the room, like a labor playlist on your iPod?

___ Would you like to move around during labor?

___ Want pain-relieving meds ASAP, or are you adamant about trying a drug-free birth? (Many preggo women have a strong stance on this matter. If that?s you, make sure your doctor's well aware of it).

___ How do you feel about being induced?

___ At what point or under what circumstances would your doc perform a C-section? Are you likely to need one (because you're carrying twins or have a health condition that increases your odds), and is there anything you can do to avoid having one?

___ How often and in what situations does your doc do episiotomies? If you feel strongly about avoiding one, ask how you can prevent tearing during labor.

___ Do you want Dad to cut the umbilical cord? Will you bank the cord blood?

___ How soon after the baby's born will you and your hubby get to hold her?

___ When will baby's first feeding occur?

___ Will you nurse or bottle-feed? Want help learning to breastfeed? Will you let baby have supplemental feedings of formula or bottled breast milk?

___ Will baby sleep with you or in the nursery?

___ Where will your partner hit the hay? If you?ve already got kids, who?ll look after big brothers or sisters?

___ If it's a boy, will you have him circumcised? If so, when?

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All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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