Birth Plan Template for New Mothers: Why Do I Need a Birth Plan?

    Birth Plan Template for New Mothers: Why Do I Need a Birth Plan?

    In general, pregnancies are considered blessings, although not all of them are planned. Pregnancy is a huge responsibility for both the mother and her partner. Therefore, planning ahead is essential to avoid unwanted stress and surprises when it comes to delivery and onward. For help, follow this birth plan template for new mothers.

    Why Do I Need a Birth Plan?

    Firstly, a birth plan is not necessary but it definitely helps make things easier. It is fine to just let things happen naturally or be decided for you once you are ready to deliver.

    Simply put, a birth plan is a written outline or guide to follow once it’s time to deliver the baby. In many cases, a birth plan template looks like a checklist. Generally, it provides answers to, “who, what, when, where, and how?” There is no one-size-fits-all birth plan template because each mother has her unique set of preferences and circumstances. Fortunately, that means mothers are free to choose and be as specific as she wants.

    The benefits of having a birth plan are being prepared and having peace of mind. This allows you to stay in control of your birth even when things get chaotic. Additionally, having written instructions make it easier to communicate with the health team during delivery.

    Birth Plan Template

    A good birth plan template should answer several basic questions, namely: who, when, where, what, and how? You can create it in whatever way or order you prefer, but this outline may help you know where to start.

    Who

    First off, do not forget to put your complete name and contact information at the top of the birth plan. This prevents any confusion or mix-ups if the health team is handling several mothers each with their own birth plans.

    Aside from your full name, you may include the names of other important people such as your designated physician, midwife, partner, and any emergency contacts. You may also want to include the names of the people you are expecting to visit while admitted, like your friends or family members. However, this does not guarantee that they will be able to enter as many facilities limit the number of people who can be in the room.

    When

    Although there are ways to predict the time of delivery, babies have a tendency to move at their own pace. It is not really possible to determine the exact time and date of a birth until after it happens. However, including the estimated delivery date is still good to include in a birth plan. As you approach the date, you may notice more signs and symptoms that indicate your baby is ready to go. Being prepared a couple of weeks before the expected due date can help in case your baby is early. Late deliveries can also be a problem for both mother and baby.

    If your baby is delivered too early (before 37 weeks), they will be considered preterm or premature, thus special treatment and precautions will be necessary during delivery. Alternatively, if your baby is very late (over 42 weeks), they are considered post-term or postmature. Premature babies have a higher risk of infection, low birth weight, and breathing problems, while postmature babies are at greater risk of meconium aspiration.

    Where

    In addition to who and when, including where you plan to give birth is important. By default, most mothers are taken to the nearest hospital once their water breaks and are about to deliver. However, not all mothers want a conventional hospital birth. While hospital births are very safe, some women opt to give birth at home or in a birthing center instead.

    Aside from listing down your preferred location to give birth, coordinate with the facility well in advance. When it comes to babies, always expect the unexpected. Reserving or registering at the facility beforehand allows for a more seamless process once your baby is ready to be born.

    What and How

    Asking what may not seem necessary, as you are obviously making a birth plan for one purpose. However, additional questions you need to ask are things such as:

    • What type of birth do I want? (e.g. normal vaginal delivery or C-section)
    • What items do I need in my baby bag or kit?
    • How do I prefer the temperature or lighting of the room?
    • What type of pain medication am I willing to take? (e.g. epidural)
    • Do I want pictures taken?

    These are other important reasons why you should coordinate with your doctor and desired facility in advance, in order to ensure that these preferences can be accommodated.

    Key Takeaways

    In summary, a birth plan is something all mothers should create before their baby’s due date. Include information in this guide to create your own birth plan template. Talk to your doctor and other personnel involved in your birth plan ahead of time to ensure that your requests can be followed and you aren’t missing any important information.

    Learn more about Giving Birth here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Sources

    How to make a birth plan https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/preparing-for-the-birth/how-to-make-a-birth-plan/ Accessed March 8, 2021

    Developing a birth plan https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ServicesAndSupport/developing-a-birth-plan Accessed March 8, 2021

    Template Birth Plan for Hospital Birth https://www.nct.org.uk/sites/default/files/BirthPlan-HospitalBirth.pdf Accessed March 8, 2021

    Birth Plans: Encouraging Patient Engagement https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6310908/ Accessed March 8, 2021

    Online Birth Plans and Anticipatory Guidance: A Critical Review Using Web Analytics and Crowdsourcing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6386788/ Accessed March 8, 2021

    Postterm and Postmature Infants https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/perinatal-problems/postterm-and-postmature-infants Accessed March 15, 2021

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    Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD Updated Jun 24, 2021