When I was pregnant with my first, there was a lot of talk in books and magazines about making a birth plan. The problem was that they were lacking in exactly how to make a birth plan. This was a decade ago, before Pinterest, and since it was my first I really didn’t know how to make a birth plan. Remembering how overwhelmed I felt, I am excited to share a free printable birth plan from Orlando Health Winnie Palmer.
This post is sponsored by Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.
I didn’t end up having any type of birth plan for my daughter other than coming home with a healthy baby and that my husband was the only person invited to the “party.” Everything turned out fine, but there were things I wanted to do differently next time. Fast forward to my second and third deliveries, and I was much more prepared with a birth plan.
While my oldest is living proof that you don’t *have* to have a written birth plan. I can tell you from experience, that having a written birth plan not only helped me mentally prepare it made everything go more smoothly on the big day.
How To Create A Birth Plan
When creating a birth plan there are three parts to consider – labor, delivery and postpartum care. Having a plan for each not only helps you prepare, it helps you and your partner get on the same page.
Before you begin creating your birth plan, be sure to check with your hospital of choice and know what your options are. You don’t want to get your heart set on a birth plan only to find out that something isn’t an option where you will deliver.
Labor Birth Plan
Dimmed lights and soft music or lights on and music to pump you up? How do you want to set the tone for your delivery? For me it was low lights and no music at all – mostly because music was the furthest thing from my mind in that moment. But if you have a picture in your mind of how you want things to go, write it down.
Perhaps the most important part of the labor birth plan is pain management. Whether you want to go all natural or get an epidural the moment you walk in the hospital, it is important to have a plan and to let others know your plan. Keeping your doctor and your partner in the loop about how you want to move through labor will help them to be the support you need.
What if you aren’t sure? That’s ok too. Lots of moms to be (myself included) don’t know how they want to handle pain management until they are in the moment. The Orlando Health Winnie Palmer printable birth plan includes options for those who are unsure, “I am unsure what I want for pain relief, I will decide when I am in labor.”
A birth plan is less of a set in stone rule book, and more of a loose guide to help keep everyone on the same page as mom.
Delivery Birth Plan
In the moments before baby’s arrival, there is a flurry of activity. You won’t be thinking about anything other than getting that baby out. If your partner wants to cut the cord or you want to delay cord cutting, everyone needs to know in advance — again, the reason for a birth plan.
With my first, we never even considered my husband cutting the cord. But my awesome doctor handed him the scissors and said, “Here you go.” We were both so happy she knew us well enough to assume he would want to. For our future children, cutting the cord was most defiantly part of our plan.
Even with a written plan, you need to be prepared to be flexible. During my third delivery there was a tense moment with the baby. The doctor decided that they needed to tend to the baby immediately, and she cut the cord. Everything was fine, but I was grateful to her for making the decision to care for my baby first and foremost. A couple of minutes later when baby girl was cleared, we were back to my birth plan with skin to skin contact.
Postpartum Birth Plan
I didn’t even consider the postpartum side of the birth plan until my third child. Once my girls were born, I had no opinion. I just wanted to sleep. But by the time my third came around, there were very specific things I wanted to happen. Luckily, I delivered all three of my girls at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer, which has baby-centered procedures that were exactly what I wanted for my baby.
Whereas babies used to be taken almost immediately for their first bath, there is now a lot of research about the importance of delaying the first bath and allowing the vernix to remain on baby for at least 24 hours. I was very happy to learn Orlando Health Winnie Palmer delays baths as a standard procedure allowing mom immediate skin to skin bonding.
Do you plan to breastfeed? How do you plan to care for your baby? While the answers to many of these questions may change, especially if this is your first child, making sure that everyone knows your plans will help you feel more confident in your decisions.
Free Printable Birth Plan
To help guide you through creating your own birth plan, Orlando Health Winnie Palmer has created a free printable birth plan checklist for you to fill out. The easy form walks you through the important questions step by step so you can check your preferences. After filling out the printable birth plan, make copies for your hospital bag, your partner’s hospital bag and your purse — just in case you make it to the hospital without your bag.
Download the free printable birth plan from Orlando Health Winnie Palmer here.
Good luck to you and your baby as you begin your journey, I hope having a written birth plan helps you feel more confident and excited about the upcoming big day.