As I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Mikah (my first child), I learned that it can be helpful to create a “Labor and Delivery Plan” (I learned that from Hypnobabies – check them out here!) I loved this idea because it allowed me to dream of how absolutely perfect my labor and baby’s delivery could be, as well as prepare my mind for the possible interventions we might need in order to keep me and baby safe.
Being able to dream of my best case scenario and combine that with backup plans for what might be necessary, really put my heart and mind at ease. Had I not gone through and really thought about my hopes, I don’t think I would have been prepared for medical intervention (had that been necessary) and that could have led to disappointment and feelings of sadness or failure.
As it turned out, I was prepared to go through with my “perfect” labor and delivery scenario, with the realistic understanding that not everything might go as I hoped, and that was truly ok. Having everything out on paper helped me realize that really and honestly, what I wanted most was to have a delivery where both me and baby would be comfortable, happy and safe.
With that as my biggest hope, I went into labor with full confidence in my abilities and the abilities of my support team that I had picked myself, knowing that things might need to change as labor progressed.
To see what my Labor and Delivery plan looked liked, you can check out this post: “My Labor and Delivery Plan”
Here are some tips I learned as I wrote my Labor and Delivery Plan:
- Write out your “Perfect Scenario”
Write out your “perfect scenario” for your labor and delivery. You can dream of anything you want in this scenario! This will give your mind a chance to think about the most awesome circumstances you can imagine for a deliver you would just love! Things you might want to include are:
- Who should be present
- Who should not be present
- The setting – how you want it to feel
- How the nurses and support team will interact with you – will they talk with you, your husband or boyfriend, or a friend who knows your wishes for delivery?
- What interventions you are willing to have or not have performed
- If you would like music in the background
- If you would like essential oils in a the room
- What kinds of natural pain-relievers you might like (essential oils, herbs, etc…)
- What you’d like to eat and drink during labor (yes, it is possible to do so if you like!)
- How you would like to labor (in water, on a ball, walking around etc..)
- What you’d like to wear
- If you’d like to have photos documenting the event (during and/or after)
If you’re wondering what to include, you can see what I dreamed about in my “Perfect Scenario” here.
2. Write out your “Plan B”
After you’ve written out every perfect thing you can imagine could happen during your labor, write out a “Plan B” – a plan that includes some things you are aware might need to happen for you and your circumstances. That might include:
- What you would like to have happen in an emergency (unplanned C-section, profuse bleeding, fetal distress etc…)
- Who should be consulted if there is an emergency (I left this ultimately to my husband and midwife to decide in the case that I was not in a position to decide)
- What interventions you are willing and not willing to have performed
- What you would like the environment to be like if at all possible
- What natural therapies you would like to include
- Who should be present and who should not be present
If you’re looking for some ideas, this is what my Plan B looked like: “My Labor & Delivery Plan”
3. Share Your Wishes with Everyone Involved
This is a pretty important step, because if no one knows what you’re thinking, it’ll be pretty hard for things to go the way you’d like!
After you’ve written out your plans, be sure to share them with those involved in your labor and delivery – your husband or boyfriend, your midwife, your OB, your doula and any friends and family who are involved. It’s also best to let people you want present or not present about your wishes beforehand so they can best support you.
You can also bring a copy of your plan with you to the hospital to share with whoever is on call when you go into labor. They may or may not appreciate reading over your wishes, but it is your experience, and that is what should be honored most. You can also ask your husband or advocate to share your Birthing Plan if you don’t want to have to think about that.
4. Be Clear
The more clear you are on how you hope things will go, the better! Take time to sit down with anyone who will be involved and talk about how you hope things can go. For instance, if you want your sister there to take pictures, let her know what you’re hoping her role will be in the experience and how you envision her interacting – would you like her to take pictures of you at all stages, only from certain angles, do you want video of the event, are you hoping your sister will just be quietly taking pictures in the background or do you want her to talk to you as well?
The more details you can share about how you would like each person to interact in the labor and delivery, the more likely it will be that you’ll have the experience you are envisioning!
5. Visit Your Possible Birthing Locations
The environment where you deliver can play a big part in how you feel during labor. During your pregnancy, go check out the possible places you might deliver so you can get a feel for and imagine what it will be like. For instance, if you plan to deliver in a birthing center, look at the rooms where you might be delivering. Ask your midwife questions about how the room is set up, and share what things you’d like in the room to make it most comfortable for you (type of lighting, smells etc..)
If your plans include delivering in a hospital, check out the environment where you might deliver. Again, think through anything you might have control over for the environment you would like to create so you can feel most comfortable and empowered to deliver in the way you envision.
Think of the environment you want to deliver in – is it someplace you are familiar with? Can you look at it beforehand to get a feel for what it is like?
Assume you’ll get your “Perfect Scenario”
Lastly, after you’ve written your various plans, focus on the “Perfect Scenario.” That will give your mind and heart a chance to mentally and emotionally surround your upcoming labor with awesome positive feelings. After you envision the way you hope and want things to go, let yourself know that unknown variables might come up during labor, and if they do, that’s ok. That will give you the space you need to love yourself in the experience, and hopefully to love the experience itself, from start to finish.
In the end, a healthy baby and you are what count most.
Have you ever written a Labor and Delivery plan? I’d love to hear about yours!