Writing a Home Birth Plan (and Transfer Plan)
Visualize your home birth.
How do you want it to smell?
What sounds do you want to hear?
What food might you want to eat?
If it is late at night, would you like the lights dimmed?
Who do you want to be present during your labor and birth?
These questions, and perhaps more, are what you’re going to be thinking about as your due month gets closer.
Many wants and desires should be discussed between you and your midwife, along with your partner or support person.
Although writing a home birth plan is not always necessary in the case of a home birth, (considering the greater level of communication between you and your midwife) it’s a very good exercise in visualization.
If you’ve talked your birth through with your midwife, perhaps you don’t need to write a “plan,” but you want to get out your thoughts in a different way – birth art might be a better option.
The other reason for creating a birth plan would be in case of transfer for personal choice, maternal fatigue or true emergency.
A few friends of mine who were planning on birthing at home decided to transfer to a nearby hospital once their labor started.
One particular friend thought it was the best choice to transfer because she’d just hosted a dinner party and went to bed very late. Her contractions, immediately strong and close together, began just an hour after lying down to sleep.
In her case, a pre-written birth plan would be great to bring along to the hospital.
How to Write a Birth Plan
There are a few different ways or styles to write a birth plan.
One option would be paragraph style, like a simple letter addressed to your doctor/nurses.
You would explain what you want your birth to look like and whether you want any pain medication. Also include whether you would like the cord to pulsate and if you would like immediate skin-to-skin contact with the initiation of breastfeeding.
Try not to make it too long. Most won’t take the time to read a long letter.
Another way to write a birth plan would be to do so like a chart, which can be easier/faster to read:
Environment Pain Management
Dim lights/no cell phones/quiet voices, etc. Write your wishes for pain management.
How you feel about cesarean section/other interventions Cord care/skin-to skin/breastfeeding
For a non-emergent situation, such as maternal fatigue, a birth plan would include more in-depth explanations.
Try categorizing the subjects:
2. IV Access
5.In Case of Vaginal Birth
6.In Case of Cesarean Delivery
Transfer Due to True Emergency
Create separate transfer plans. One for a transfer due to fatigue, and one for true emergencies.
Hospital staff won’t bother reading a birth plan in a true emergency, except (hopefully) the part about newborn care. Things to include might be:
WE DO NOT CONSENT TO
Antibiotic eye ointment
Don’t forget to include your signatures and make two copies – one for the hospital staff and one for you!