Dealing with pain before my delivery
Michael Urig, MD, is chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix. For more information on this topic, talk with your doctor, or call Dr. Urig’s office at (602) 241-1671.
Question: I am pregnant and have some particular views on pain medication and other aspects of labor and delivery. What is the best way to communicate this information?
Answer: I would recommend that you work with your obstetrician to prepare a birth plan. A birth plan is a basic outline that includes an expectant mother’s wants and needs during the labor and delivery process, and her doctor’s advice and recommendations. And while a formal birth plan is not a requirement, you should definitely review your desires with your obstetrician well in advance of your due date. Through this dialogue, your doctor can help dispel any myths about labor and delivery, address any questions and concerns, and give you a better understanding of what to expect from the birthing process.
Some of the most common birth plan topics include the use of epidural for pain management; the opportunity to walk during labor; opinions on episiotomy; the number of people allowed in the delivery room; the possible use of forceps and vacuum; and the chances and reasons for cesarean section.
Pre-printed birth plans are available, which enable you to put your ideas on paper so they can be shared with your doctor. However, the most important thing you can do is remain flexible. Every birthing process is different and while you may hope to follow a certain plan, being open to other possibilities during labor and delivery is extremely helpful to both you and your doctor.
Reviewed September 2010