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You've probably already downloaded a birth plan template if you are expecting. Coming up with a birth plan is a surprising amount of work, am I right?
It’s not as simple as just saying you want to deliver naturally and being done with it. In fact, there are SO MANY different things you’ll need to decide on!
What’s best for you and your family will be unique to you, so it’s important to do your research!
Some choices you make (like this one) will last far beyond the delivery room, so make sure to educate yourself and choose wisely.
Pregnancy brain is a real thing, so it’s totally understandable if you missed a few things! I know I did!
Here are 6 important items you might have forgotten to put on your birth plan.
1. Students in the room?
While you probably know to decide which friends and family you’d like (or not like) to have present during childbirth, chances are you didn’t specify which hospital staff can be present.
Specifically, student doctors, or medical externs, are probably working and learning at your hospital.
Every doctor learns his or her trade from actual hands-on experience.
They might be allowed to perform cervical checks, break your waters, or put in your IV. They may also be present during both a c-section or vaginal delivery.
It’s up to you if you’d like a student present at all, and how active you want them to be.
2. What will you wear?
Generally speaking, whatever you choose to wear will likely end up in the garbage. It’s going to be gross.
Of course, if you are getting a planned c-section, they will have you in a hospital gown.
But, if you are hoping to deliver vaginally, you can actually bring your own clothes to deliver in and avoid those scratchy, butt baring, hospital gowns.
I wore this for my first delivery and it was beautiful and SO comfortable too. It has quick access for an epidural if you choose and also opens up for skin to skin and nursing after delivery. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
3. Guidance during pushing?
Here’s a big one that pretty much everyone overlooks.
This won’t apply to you if you are having a c-section. If you are getting an epidural, then you’ll need guidance, otherwise you won’t know when to push.
However, if you are planning to have an unmedicated delivery, you get a choice. If you don’t voice your preferences then you get whatever you get.
One of the main reasons my second childbirth experience was so much better than the first was the atmosphere in which my baby came into the world.
It was PEACEFUL.
There was only my husband, doctor, and nurse present and they were all quiet and letting me do my thing.
This was totally different from the dozen strangers all yelling advice to me during my first birthing experience! That was horrible!
You can read the full story here if you’d like.
The point is that if you don’t know to specify how many people and how much guidance you want during pushing, you might not like what you end up getting!
4. Delayed cord clamping?
Everyone knows to specify who gets to cut the umbilical cord, and many moms even ask that the cord blood get donated.
Most birth plans totally skip over the topic of cord clamping.
For vaginal births especially, delaying cord clamping has a slew of benefits!
The most notable benefits babies experience include higher levels of hemoglobin, red blood cells, and iron stores.
While many practitioners will either clamp the cord immediately or within 30 seconds of birth, you can request clamping to be delayed either 60 seconds or until it stops pulsing.
When the umbilical cord stops pulsing, the flow of blood and nutrients to baby stops, so delaying clamping past this point won’t help baby further.
5. Respect the Golden Hour
If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out my post on the unbelievable benefits of skin-to-skin after birth.
Many moms do request immediate skin to skin with their baby, but in their birth plan they don’t specify for how long.
You won’t receive the full benefits of skin to skin if baby is taken away before at least a full hour of contact.
So, if you plan to do skin to skin, make sure to specify a minimum length of time!
6. Baby’s first bath
Some moms want their babies bathed right away (because delivery is messy!!) and other moms want to wait (respect that golden hour).
Whatever your choice is, it’s important to let your nurse know ahead of time so she can be prepared.
Personally, I chose to delay my baby’s first bath for a full 24 hours. This is because the protective layer on baby’s skin, her vernix, is still providing protective qualities for hours after birth.
Research shows that delayed baths can provide better temperature stability, a reduction in hypoglycemia, and a higher rate of successful breastfeeding.
I’ll let you know right now, most birth plans you find online won’t have all of these items, so make sure to write them in!
If you’d like to read about how I delivered my babies naturally with zero interventions, click here. Also, check out this post for things you should do today to prepare for a natural birth.
Can you think of something I left off? Let me know in the comments!