Types of Birth Plans and How to Choose the Right One for You

Preparing to welcome your little one into the world is an incredible experience, whether it’s your first or your fifth. And one of the most important parts of that preparation is deciding how you want to welcome baby into the world … your birth plan.  

In recent years, birth plans have gained a lot of attention, but it’s always something expecting moms put a lot of thought into — what is the best fit for a personalized and healthy birth. As a lot goes into creating a birth plan, it can seem a little overwhelming. Keep reading for options to make your birth plan tailored to you.

Types of Births

This is the first choice you’ll need to make — how you want to give birth. You’ll want to decide the location — hospital, birthing center or home birth. Once you’ve decided that, you’ll want to decide how you’d like to give birth:

Vaginal. This is one of the most familiar options for childbirth. A vaginal delivery is typically for low-risk pregnancies, and includes what is typically viewed as birth: pushing until the baby is delivered through the vaginal canal. For this delivery option, there are a number of pain relief options available, namely epidurals.

Natural-vaginal. This form of childbirth is the same as the above, but without the use of any medication or anesthetics.

Water birth. This one is exactly what it sounds like. Your little one will be born while you labor and deliver in water — water births are often chosen as a medication-free pain reliever. This is typically a natural vaginal birth, and usually occurs at home or in a birthing center.

Scheduled induction. In this birth, you and your medical provider will decide on a day when you’ll receive a medication to induce labor and get the process going. While this is typically not suggested, it may be required in certain situations.

Cesarean section. This is a surgical procedure in which the doctor cuts through the abdominal wall to deliver the baby. This can be scheduled and planned, or can be an emergency procedure when vaginal birth is no longer an option.

VBAC.  Otherwise known as vaginal birth after c-section. This birth will come with its own set of needs and precautions, so make sure you discuss the process with your healthcare provider.

Other Considerations

Once you’ve decided where and how you’d like to deliver your baby, there are a few other things you’ll want to keep in mind and discuss with your partner and doctor ahead of time.

Visitors and people in the room. Who would you like allowed in the room during your labor and delivery? Who would you like in the room after baby has arrived? In most situations, you can have as few people or as many people as you would like.

Atmosphere. Think about if you’d like dim lights, music or no music, flowers or other encouraging tokens, etc. Make sure you choose an atmosphere you will feel most comfortable in.

Clothing. Did you know you can decide how clothed you’d like to be? Some expecting mothers find clothing to be hindering or make the situation uncomfortable, while others feel uncomfortable being uncovered. Again, this choice is entirely up to you.

Photography/film. Decide ahead of time if you want photography or video allowed, and let your healthcare provider and support system know, so the rule can be enforced.  

As you prepare for your little one, keep in mind that all of the above are tailored to your preferences and what’s best for your family. Don’t ever let a family member, friend or even medical provider push you into something you feel uncomfortable with. This is your delivery — and you’re going to rock it!  

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