This is one of the most exciting times of your life you are having a baby! When the initial shock and excitement are over, you realize how much there is to plan. It’s not all baby showers and ultrasounds momma! No need to fret though, below you will find exactly how to create a birth plan. You will find details about why each of these lists is necessary. There are even examples for you to look at and blank copies for you to print out.
You’ve got the 6 P’s of Birth Planning to consider:
Pre-Natal Checklists To Create In Your Birth Plan
During your prenatal weeks, from conception to delivery, you have awesome responsibilities. Most doctors, during a normal pregnancy, expect to see you once a month for the first six months, twice a month during months seven and eight, and every week during your last weeks until delivery.
It is very important that you keep your doctor’s appointments. Pre-natal health is also a vital part of these first weeks. Follow your doctor or health care provider’s recommendations for diet, exercise, and prenatal supplements. You may also choose to take a child birthing class to learn techniques for handling deliveries in various situations and to learn about possible complications and how to avoid them.
At the end of this article, there is a printable table for you to fill out, but below is an example of an appointment and exercise schedule.
Table 1 Appointments and Exercise Schedule – Example
How to Create a Birth Plan That Includes the People in Your Life
Pregnancy is a very stressful time. Women can certainly manage a pregnancy on their own, but it is always better to have the support of one’s partner and extended family. Once you have announced your pregnancy and everyone has had time to adjust to the news, gather everyone for a planning session. This is a great time to find out when people can help you and you can schedule a time for them to be there (Table 2).
Some people that you should reach out to include your parents, the in-laws, close siblings and cousins, friends, church friends, and even close co-workers. Everyone you invite to this intimate circle should be someone who will be a big part of your child’s life.
You will need to work with everyone’s schedules. If people want to help but work during the day, see if they can pick up your prenatal vitamins at the pharmacy on their way home from work. Or, if someone can only help on a Saturday, have them help with shopping or cleaning the house. If you are sending someone on a shopping trip alone, prepare a detailed list with name brands, sizes wanted, and specialty items. Here is an example:
- ½ gallon organic 2% milk- Horizon brand
- 1 lb organic ground beef- Laura’s brand
- 10 oz box of Cheerios
- 6 large organic bananas
- 2 lbs of deli turkey sliced for sandwiches
When you provide this much detail, it is easier for your helper to get exactly what you need from the store. Below is a sample of Table 2.
Table 2: Family and Friend Assignments – Example
|Monday||8-5 at house||Fix dinner at 5||Lawn Care|
|Tuesday||4-8 at house||On-call|
|Wednesday||Fix Dinner at 5||Pharmacy||On-call|
|Thursday||4-8 at house||On-call|
|Friday||On-call||On-call||Repairs around house|
Creating a Birth Plan; Places You Will Be Visiting Frequently
Think about the places you will need to go during your pregnancy. What places will you be visiting frequently?
- Grocery Store
- Fitness Center
- Birthing Class
All of these places will require you to bring information, whether that be insurance information, handouts, homework, shopping lists, prescriptions, etc. Whenever you plan to run errands, print out your Table 3: Places Check-List and make sure you have everything you need before you leave the house. You do not want to make a trip 30 minutes from home and realize you forgot crucial information.
These trips should also be a part of the friends and family assignments. While pregnant women are perfectly capable of running errands, as you progress in the pregnancy, it will become more difficult and time-consuming. When a trip to the store starts becoming a 90-minute ordeal for no more than a few groceries, it’s time to call in help from the friends and family assignment sheet (Table 2).
Table 3: Places Check-List – Example
|Doctor||Insurance Card||Co-Payment||Symptom Sheet||Pre-Birth Paperwork||List of Medications|
|Birth Class||Pillow||Yoga Mat||List of Questions|
|Pharmacy||List of items to pick up||Money||Insurance card|
How to Create a Birth Plan With A Packing List
Once you have started into your sixth month, it’s a good idea to have your hospital bag ready to go. You want to be thinking about this while you are clear-headed not while you are in the throes of active labor. Think about not only what you will need at the hospital during your delivery, but what you want to have with you.
While family and friends will surely be a comfort during labor and delivery if you want to bring along your favorite stuffed animal or some kind of token, do it! Don’t worry about what people might think or say. This is about you and your baby. Do what you must to keep yourself calm and comfortable.
Create your list in Table 4 and have it ready when you start packing.
Table 4: Packing Check-List – Example
|Clothing- shirt, bottoms, underwear, coat|
|Toiletries- toothbrush, hairbrush, toothpaste|
|Newborn outfit with socks|
|Nursing pads and breastfeeding supplies|
|Infant Car Seat|
Your Plan For Pushing
You are ready to deliver! Several weeks prior to your due date, your physician or midwife will ask you a series of questions about how you want the delivery to proceed:
- Do you want an epidural?
- Do you want IV pain management?
- Are you planning for a vaginal birth or C-section?
- Do you want an alternative birthing style (in water, for example)?
- Wishes in case of emergencies during birth (placental abruption can require an emergency hysterectomy, for example)?
- Who is your medical proxy (the person who makes decisions when you can’t)?
- Should extraordinary measures be used to save the mother and baby?
Some of these questions are scary. But, each one of them will help your medical team make the best decisions possible during delivery and have a clearly spelled out list of your wishes in case of emergency. This is probably the most important part of your birth plan to create and a section you definitely do not want to leave out.
Create a Birth Plan That Includes Post-Natal Care
Pushing is over! The baby has come, and everyone is doing so well. You are delighted with your new bundle of joy and filled with a love you never knew possible. You are also exhausted, in pain, and more than a little annoyed that you aren’t getting enough sleep for all the visitors. Once you are post-delivery, make sure to get a copy of your post-natal plan (Table 5) to your medical staff. It will include the people who are authorized to visit, what times are best, and when you absolutely do not want to be disturbed.
Be aware: To ensure a schedule that is accurate, you may want to have one ready and have a blank one handy to make changes.
Another important thing to remember is that no matter how much we plan, things do not always go the way we want them to. Dr. Kim of The Parentologist (like so many mamas) experienced disappointment when her daughter’s birth didn’t go as planned. Head to our highlight on Instagram titled “Ask the Experts” to hear more about her story.
Table 5: Post-Natal Set-up Chart – Example
|Visitors Allowed||Visiting Hours||Nursing Hours||Sleep Hours||Do Not Disturb|
|Joe and Mary||12pm-1pm||SAA|
|Sis and Mark||10am-11am||SAA|
Reduce your stress by creating a birthing plan that goes beyond just the day of delivery. Include everyone but make sure the most important people are looked after first: you and your baby. Click on the images below for your FREE Birth Plan Templates Printable!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to our Rookie Moms Facebook Group. You will find that plenty of other moms who you can share questions and answers with