Your Birth Plan | Methodist Hospital | UnityPoint Health

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Your Birth Plan

A birth plan can help you design your baby's birth and support your breastfeeding plan. When you're in labor, and things are moving quickly, your plan can help guide your birth team's decisions.

At the UnityPoint – Methodist Birthing Center, you can discuss your wishes with us in advance. Our team will work with you on your birth plan throughout your pregnancy. We aim to add your preferences to your birth plan and be ready when your new baby is.

You'll find some recommendations for your birth plan in the helpful checklist below. You can use it to talk to your provider about options at your first visit. Then come in for a tour to see how we'll help put your plan into action.

Make a birth plan

You and your family might have passionate feelings about how you want to bring your new baby into the world. Women who have a birth plan say their birth experience  is more positive. They may have fewer interventions and use less pain medication.

The sooner you put your wishes in writing and start sharing them, the better. Start your birth plan checklist with these suggestions:

Overall birth preferences

You may want to discuss with your provider and the Birthing Center:

  • Expected birth (natural, vaginal with pain medications or C-section)
  • Support person who will be with you during birth
  • Labor environment (for example, music and lighting or aromatherapy)
  • Use of cameras and video recorders
  • Viewing birth with a mirror
  • Ice chips, popsicles or hard candy during labor

Labor tools and supports

Certain labor supports can make having your baby more comfortable and help you keep interventions to a minimum. Some considerations for your birth plan are:

  • Hydrotherapy (whirlpool or tub) and other techniques to manage discomfort
  • Nitrous oxide to avoid pain medications
  • Minimizing distractions
  • Walking during labor or chair sitting
  • Labor support devices (birthing ball, squat bar or massage tools)
  • Position options for pushing and birthing
  • Freedom of movement (wireless fetal monitoring or other technology)

Medical decisions during labor and delivery

Thinking about some topics in advance helps communication if things change during labor. If you're not sure what you'll want, you can learn more through our childbirth preparation classes.

Talk to your provider ahead of time and make sure they understand your approach to:

  • Pain medications, how they limit activity and their effect on labor and the baby
  • Other drugs that might be needed as labor progresses
  • Routine IVs
  • Episiotomy preferences and a backup plan

First moments with baby

Your first moments together are some of the most exciting in your life. That's why Methodist offers baby-friendly first days to get you started. Let your care team know how you'd like to handle these big decisions:

  • Cutting the umbilical cord
  • Baby and mother skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth
  • Breastfeeding within an hour of birth
  • Keeping the baby in the room with you
  • Circumcision

Prepare to communicate during labor

When you have completed your birth plan, share it with your provider and the Birthing Center labor and delivery team. Use your checklist to talk with everyone before and during labor. Things can move quickly. The more you communicate, the easier it will be to make your wishes happen.

Your partner or support person can help keep the birth plan on track. Let them know they can help you ask questions and share your wishes throughout the process.

Be ready for changes

A ready-for-anything attitude may be the most important part of your birth plan. Keep your outlook flexible, and be prepared to deal with changes, including ones you make.

You want the safest and healthiest delivery for you and your baby, and so do we. To achieve that goal, we may need to make quick decisions during your labor. A good birth plan and communication before labor will help those changes reflect your birth plan as much as possible.

Contact the Birthing Center

You can call 309-672-4852 to schedule a tour of the Birthing Center. Tours are held:

  • Mondays  at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Wednesdays  at 5 p.m.
  • Fridays at 10 a.m.

For information about childbirth preparation classes, see our Classes and Events page or call 309-671-2522. Preregister now to reserve your space.