Many women have passionate feelings about how they would like to deliver their baby. In order to ensure your needs and wants will be respected during labor, it is important to draw up a birth plan. A birth plan can include details about your preferences during labor. Some of these preferences may include:
- Choosing your support person or who will be present during your birth
- Labor environment (music, lighting, aromatherapy, etc.)
- Hydrotherapy (whirlpool, tub, shower)
- Walking during labor
- Self-help techniques
- Use of labor support devices: birth ball, birth bar, massage tools
- Routine IVs
- Pain management techniques
- Fetal monitoring
- Cutting the umbilical cord
- Baby skin to mother's chest immediately after birth
- Breastfeeding immediately after birth
- Keeping the baby in your room with you
Make sure to share your birth plan with your health care provider. More important than your written plan, is your ability to communicate verbally with your birth team. If you speak up and verbalize your wishes, you can get your point across and have the birth you desire. Your partner or trusted person who will be with you during labor can also help you communicate.
Be prepared to be flexible with your birth plan. Remember it is most important you and your baby are safe and healthy. Some women who swear they will never use pain medication find themselves begging for it, while those who always thought they'd need medication actually do not.
When you prepare your birth plan, you'll want to be familiar with the room where you will give birth. We invite you to tour St. Luke's private 100 percent NICU-ready birth suites to see the difference our family-centered care makes. A ready-for-anything attitude comes in handy during labor and may prove to be the best birth guide.
Register online or call (319) 369-8129 to schedule a personal tour.
PODCAST EPISODE: Top Questions from Expecting Parents
Shari King, RN, labor and delivery nurse at St. Luke's Birth Care Center, joins Dr. Arnold to discuss the top questions she receives from expecting parents.