Creating a birthing plan
Dr. Michael Bryan, MD, FACOG is an OB/GYN at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center.
Question: I want to do a natural birth, but I am afraid I will be pressured to change my mind. What is the best way to make sure I have the experience I want?
Answer: Many pregnant women have clear ideas about what they would like to experience during child birth. Preparing a birth plan with your physician and partner is one way to communicate these wishes.
A birth plan is a basic outline of an expectant mother’s wants and needs during the labor and delivery process that includes her doctor’s advice and recommendations. While a birth plan is not required, it is suggested for patients like yourself who have specific desires. By developing a birth plan with your partner and doctor, you can clarify any myths about labor and delivery, address questions and concerns, and gain a better understanding of what to expect from the birthing process.
One of the most common topics discussed while creating a birth plan is pain management, and your openness to using anesthesia. While this is a personal decision, your doctor can explain the various ways pain can be managed during labor and delivery. Other birth plan topics might include views on episiotomy; how many people should be allowed in the delivery room; the possible use of forceps and vacuum; and the reasons a cesarean section might be necessary.
Pre-printed birth plans are available online so you and your partner can prepare your thoughts before your meeting. Please remember that your delivery is a very personal and unique experience that your doctor wants to help you have, as long as the safety of your baby is maintained. No matter how firm you are on your wishes, it is important to remain flexible and open to other possibilities not included in your birth plan to ensure a safe and happy outcome.