one can predict exactly what your baby's birth will be
like. You probably have some idea of what you hope will
happen and may have talked to your doctor or midwife.
But one of the best ways to learn about labor and birth-and
let others know about your thoughts-is to write a birth
plan. "A birth plan is a way for a patient to communicate
to the healthcare provider what she envisions her birth
experience will be like so she can have some input on
the management of their labor," says Lynn Hoag, a nurse
midwife at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
have more birth options today than ever before. Some women
want children to be as quick and painful as possible.
On the other end of the spectrum are women who want naturally
evolving labor with minimum medical involvement. Be aware
that the choices you make early can affect what happens
later. For example, getting pain medication (which can
slow down labor) can result in your need to have pitocin
(because labor is too slow), which could require internal
monitoring (for which-if it hasn't happened already-your
bag of waters will need to be broken).
doctor of midwife may use birth plans routinely or hardly
ever. They're more common in some places than others.
You may want to begin the discussion by talking about
a few issues at a time during your regular checkups. Your
practitioner will also be able to tell you about what
options your hospital or birth center offers. (This article
has some of the possible options.)
Paying attention to how you phrase the plan can be very
helpful. A list of preference works better than confronting
your health care team with options you don't want. Another
way of saying, "I don't want to have any pain in labor,"
is to state, "When I get uncomfortable, I would like an
epidural as soon as possible". If there are several practitioners
in the practice, show your birth plan to all of them.
Ask your practitioner about how to share your plan with
the nurses and possible anesthesiologist at the birth.
If it's written you may want to bring copies.
Remember that your birth plan expresses your ideal scenario.
It's important to remain flexible for your health and
your baby's. Your individual labor and delivery may require
last minute adjustments. You might want-and benefit from-medical
help you thought you might not need.
here to view the chart of birth options, and choose the
ones you are most interested in and would like to discuss
with your doctor.
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