Outlines available in books and on the Internet can help you compose a birth plan, but don't feel compelled to cover everything. Your caregivers will have time to read only a short list. Here, the main considerations:
- Do you want to be offered pain relief? If so, do you prefer IV medication (given only in the early stage of labor) or an epidural (which can hinder the ability to push)?
- Do you prefer to sit upright in bed or squat during the pushing stage?
- Do you want to be mobile during labor? If you opt for continuous electronic fetal monitoring, for example, you may have to stay in bed.
- Whom do you want present during labor?
- What's your ideal birthing environment? Do you want the lights dimmed? Music playing? A bathtub, if available?
- Do you want to avoid an episiotomy (an incision beneath the vaginal opening)? If so, massage and delivering in an upright position may help.
- Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you want to hold the baby immediately?
- Will you be breast-feeding?
- Do you want the baby to stay in your room with you or go to a nursery?
- If you have a boy, do you want him to be circumcised?
Copyright © 2000 Ginny Graves. Reprinted with permission from the August 2000 issue of Parents magazine.
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.