When you partner with our experienced team of board-certified obstetricians at Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology in Amarillo, Texas, you can expect comprehensive, individualized care from your very first prenatal visit to your last postpartum care appointment.
Obstetrics care includes assisting you through childbirth, of course, as well as before that day arrives, helping you create a labor and delivery plan that details your personal preferences as you bring your bundle of joy into the world.
Here, we explain the ins and outs of birth planning, including six factors you should consider as you outline your labor and delivery desires and priorities for your maternity support team.
A birth plan is a written summary of your preferences for when you’re in labor and giving birth. Essentially, it’s a way for you to communicate with our team and other maternity care providers about what’s important to you leading up to, during, and just after your baby’s arrival.
But birth planning isn’t just about keeping your care team informed on how you want your labor and delivery to take place; it’s also about giving you a sense of confidence and control over the process — even when something unexpected occurs — and giving your body a “voice” in any care decisions made along the way.
Far from being a concrete directive of how you’d like your labor and delivery to go, a birth plan is a flexible document that holds space for new thinking as well as the unexpected. It can’t provide a guaranteed outcome, but it can guide the process in an informed and responsive way.
We recommend creating your birth plan with a positive focus: Instead of making a long list of what you don’t want, make a list of what you do want. When forming your plan, consider these six factors:
It can be helpful to offer a “snapshot” of your birth philosophy. Placed at the top of your birth plan, this simple summary of your main preferences allows anyone who may interact with you during your labor or delivery to quickly understand your most important wishes.
For example, if your overall preference is to have a natural, medication-free birth — or if it’s to get an epidural as soon as possible — make your desires clear up front.
Childbirth is hard work, and your surroundings can affect how you feel as you make your way through it. Consider what type of atmosphere might make you feel more comfortable as you go through labor and delivery. Would you like the room to be as quiet as possible or would you prefer soft music? Would you like the lights to be dimmed?
Environmental comfort includes who you’d like in the room with you for support, and whether you’d like them to take photos or videos. Or, you may decide you want as few people as possible in the space with you.
Outline any preferences you have for active labor. Would you like to walk around or change positions freely, or take a warm bath or shower as you labor? Do you want to use an assistive device like a birthing ball, stool, or chair?
Pain management during labor is a top consideration for most expectant mothers. You may already know that you want (or don’t want) an epidural, or you may plan to start with natural pain control methods like breathing and massage, leaving yourself the option to get an epidural if labor becomes more exhausting than you expected.
Our team helps you understand your pain management options so you can create a flexible, well-informed, birth plan.
Once you state your preference for either a vaginal birth or a C-section, think about any further preferences you may have for your delivery. For example, if you’re planning a vaginal birth, list any preferences you have for birthing positions (i.e., kneeling, squatting).
Would you like to avoid an assisted delivery (i.e., forceps) or an episiotomy unless they’re medically necessary? Do you want a mirror so you can see your baby’s birth? If you’re planning a C-section (or wind up having one out of necessity), who would you like at your side in the delivery room?
Once your baby is born, would you like your partner or support person to cut the umbilical cord? If possible, do you prefer immediate skin-on-skin contact, holding your newborn as your care team performs their initial tests and health checks?
Would you like your baby to only stay with you, or do you prefer that they go to the nursery sometimes? Are you planning on breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or both? Is it alright if your care team offers your baby a pacifier?
If you’re ready to get started on — or update — your birth plan, we can help. Schedule a visit at Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology by calling our office at 806-359-5468 today.