What do I need to know about creating a birth plan? | by
ASK A WOMAN'S HEALTH PROVIDER
A birth plan is not absolutely essential before labor begins, as you will have no shortage of well-trained, labor-and-delivery nurses providing help and advice. It is also important to keep your minds open, as one can never predict what will happen and should remain flexible. However, a birth plan can be helpful in spelling out some of your choices.
For instance, pain control is something to think about. About 90 percent of first-time mothers will opt to get regional anesthesia (an epidural), which offers the best pain relief during childbirth. Numerous studies have shown that these are safe and pose no harmful effects to babies. There are also analgesics, usually in the form of narcotics, delivered intravenously that will take the edge off the pain but can make the patient and baby sleepy. Alternative methods include breathing exercises, walking, hot tubs, and even hypnotherapy.
Often birth plans include your preferences for support person, fetal monitoring, how to augment labor if it stops progressing, when you want your baby brought to you (immediately after delivery to your abdomen or after baby has been cleaned and swaddled in a blanket), whether you will breast or bottle-feed, whether you will circumcise (for boys), and whether you want your baby to have a pacifier.
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