What is a birth plan?
A Birth Plan is a family’s means of conveying preferences and wishes to the doctors and to the hospital staff.
Think of it as roadmap for getting to your destination. It can be a simple as getting from point A to point B, but already consider what you will do in case you run into a detour like having a flat tire along the way. Having a birth plan prepared encourages you to consider all your birthing options and communicate your preferences to your healthcare team. At the same time, it is an avenue for your doctors to discuss your options with you based on the hospital policies. Note that hospital policies vary per institution and can change over time specially during this pandemic.
Should I write my own birth plan?
Yes, our participants found this along with the list of things to prepare for in your Go Bag very useful prior to the pandemic! I believe this will be even more helpful now as we face COVID-19 because it is a platform for open communication between you and your doctors. In its simplest form, it would cover concerns on the following.
- Privacy and modesty – You can indicate in this part if you would like to limit the people who will be in the room, and if you’d like to have your husband to be there. But take note moms and dads, again because of the COVID pandemic, strict hospital protocols will already limit the number of persons in the delivery room, as well as the people who can visit you after.
- Labor – You can indicate here if you prefer freedom of movement during labor, music, snacks and drinks. For example, if you want to do prenatal yoga labor poses or use an exercise ball if you know how to use one. Fortunately, times have changed since I was a med student — you know back then, moms in labor would have to lie down for a long time attached to monitors while in labor, and as med students, we would also take note of each contraction and record them. It’s different now! From personal experience, while I was in labor for my first child, I was allowed to move around, dance and do yoga, and assume whatever position was comfortable for me at that time.
- Birth and delivery – You can discuss with your OB what to expect, plan about the “pushing” part, as well as what would be done in case a C-section is necessary.
- After delivery care – You can indicate that you prefer to do Unang Yakap and rooming-in. If in case for some reason you can not do it, let your doctor know if you prefer your husband to do the skin-to-skin with your baby. Include here the feeding preference for your baby, ideally breastfeeding by direct latching. With regards to rooming-in, take into consideration the possibility of being COVID positive. Discuss what support and help you would need to be able to room-in and breastfeed. This is a conversation you need to have with your doctors PRIOR to delivery since they will also explain to you what the hospital protocols allow.
- Additional Items – You can indicate here other important plans like for example, what steps to take if for example someone in the family has COVID, whether you prefer no visitors, and the like.
Also, since COVID-19 is still an evolving disease, the doctor’s management may also change. Hospitals may have new and stricter protocols and we have to respect that. The best thing to do is open the conversation about what your family will do in case of covid exposure or if anyone in the family becomes covid positive. And of course, let’s keep on praying and hoping for the best because God is always in control. 😊
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