Thursday, June 8, 2017

What’s Your Birth Plan?

You’ve picked your child’s name, decorated the nursery, and bought enough diapers to last the first few weeks. But have you made a plan for the birth?

There are many options available to prospective parents. A birth plan lets your doctor and nurses know exactly what you want your birthing experience to be like. It can also outline how you want your baby to be cared for immediately after you give birth. You can be as detailed as you like — it’s entirely up to you. Talk with your doctor about your options.

Fauquier Hospital Family Birthing Center offers classes and tours of the birthing facilities so you can feel as comfortable as possible with your surroundings. It’s a good idea to visit the hospital a few weeks beforehand. This way, you’ll know the best route to get there, where to go for check-in, even where you can park your car. Some hospitals will let you register ahead of your visit so that your insurance information is already on file.

Talk with your doctor and the hospital staff about their policies and procedures. They may already have a set routine in place. Use that as a launching point for your own birth plan.

Deciding on the Details

Keep your plan short and to the point. One page is usually long enough. Here are just a few of the things you may want to include:

Birth partner/labor coach: Let your doctor know if you want your partner or any friends or family members to be with you in the room while you’re giving birth.

Music and lights: If you’ve got a favorite band or an album that helps you relax, add music to your birth plan. Most places will let you pick the soundtrack for your delivery. You can also ask the staff to dim the lights to help put you at ease.

Episiotomy: An episiotomy is a small surgical cut to enlarge the vaginal opening. It is not common practice. There are, however, situations when it may be helpful in delivery, so talk with your doctor about your personal wishes.

Pain medication: Some women opt for a completely natural, unmedicated birth. Others choose an epidural to control pain. It’s important to decide ahead of time which you prefer.

Postpartum care: You can ask that some procedures, such as bathing or measuring, be delayed while you bond with your baby after giving birth.

Expect the Unexpected

Millions of perfectly healthy babies are born each year in the U.S. and around the world. But there is always the chance that something unexpected could happen. When putting together your plan, leave some room for flexibility. For instance, you may want to choose a hospital that operates an Intermediate Care Nursery, in case your baby is premature, or needs a little extra care for the first few days or weeks.

Remember: A birth plan is designed to give you confidence that your wishes will be respected and to put you in control even when you may be feeling overwhelmed by everything that’s going on around you. Together with your doctor, you can plan for a birth experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

No comments: