Have you started with a birth-plan yet? Here's all you need to know

At 27 weeks, it is now time for you to start thinking about how you want your labor and delivery experience to go. Creating a birth plan helps to communicate your wishes and goals for before, during, and after labor and delivery. A good birth plan delivers a better birth experience, and can also clear unrealistic expectations, minimize disappointment, and eliminate major conflict and miscommunication between a birth mom and her birth attendants. Always remember that things may not always go to plan, so a good birth plan needs to be flexible. Here’s what you should include in your personalized plan:

Requests before birth: What do you want the atmosphere where you give birth to be like? List preferences about music, lighting, or items from home. Who would you like to have with you during labor and/or at delivery?

Requests during labor and delivery:

You can discuss how you want to labour, the techniques you plan to use to manage labor pain, and what labor procedures you are comfortable with. What type of birth are you planning? What are your choices regarding an epidural or other pain medication?

Vaginal vs. C-section birth preferences:

You may have already decided that you don’t want to go for a C-section; however it's vital to prepare for unexpected events. You can note down your preferences in case of a C-section, but keep in mind that your doctor may advise against some of your preferences, especially if you are at a high risk or experience a medical emergency during labor and delivery.

Requests for newborn care

Discuss your expectations of care for both you and your baby during recovery. Address feeding concerns, and whether you would like to have a lactation consultant there to help immediately after delivery. Cord blood banking is another issue that you need to decide on.

Once you've finished your birth plan, discuss it with your doctor and make adjustments, if necessary. Make copies and make them available to your doctor and the labor and delivery team, as well as the post-birth nursing team.

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