Birth plan, what is it and what is it for?

The birth plan is a document, usually written, in which the pregnant woman expresses her preferences, needs, expectations, and desires about the birth of her baby and the birth process.

Several models can be followed to prepare the document. But now, you can also write original writing that collects your ideas. Health professionals encourage you to reflect and inform yourself through reliable sources. This document does not replace the personalized information adapted to each situation -age, multiple pregnancies, diseases of the mother or fetus, etc.- that the midwife, gynecologist, or gynecologist can offer to the pregnant woman.

When is it time to consider the elaboration of the birth plan?

From the 28-32 weeks of pregnancy, or when the birth preparation sessions begin, it is an excellent time to think about what the needs of the pregnant person are, look for information, and decide what things are essential to have a positive experience of the birth of the baby.

What kind of preferences is not feasible to include in a birth plan?

Of course, you cannot opt for practices that, at present, are discouraged because they are unnecessary or harmful to the development of normal childbirth. For example, a cesarean section should not be used if a doctor does not indicate it for the health needs of the mother or baby.

Does this mean that labor can be planned?

The development of the birth of a baby cannot be planned. Unforeseeable situations may arise where health personnel will advise a specific action that may not be by the wishes expressed in the birth plan. In such cases, after properly informing and seeking the pregnant woman’s consent, it will be carried out. In the face of an-unexpected situation, the ability to adapt and keep the “open mind” of the pregnant person and their companion can help them improve their experience.

On what issues can I express my wishes and preferences?

  • Accompaniment. If the woman wishes, a trusted person to support her throughout the process helps make the experience more positive.
  • The physical space. The offer of the different health centers may vary in terms of equipment, amenities, etc. It is advisable to inform yourself to be able to choose according to our needs, previously visiting the center. For example, the IMQ Zorrotzaurre Clinic offers the possibility of an online visit.
  • Attention and care during dilation. Mobility during dilation and the methods of pain relief that the pregnant person wants, such as using support materials (balls, cushions, bathtub, shower), epidural analgesia, etc.
  • Attention and care during the baby’s departure period (expulsive). Position the person in this period, types of pushes, skin to skin with the baby after leaving, cutting the umbilical cord when it stops beating, collection or donation of umbilical cord blood.
  • Delivery or expulsion of the placenta. Current recommendations indicate that active management of this phase (oxytocin injection after the baby’s departure) decreases blood loss in the mother. Still, it is an option if the woman wants it to be spontaneous (without medication).
  • Newborn care. If the desire expressed is to perform skin-to-skin with the baby, much care can be delayed until the first 2 hours of life not to interrupt the mother-baby intimacy. The baby’s bath is usually postponed until the second day of life, but families can decide when to do it.
  • She was feeding the baby. It is recommended that the woman has decided what type of feeding she wants her baby to receive: breastfeeding or artificial. If breastfeeding is your choice, health professionals will facilitate an early onset during the first two hours of life.
  • Period of admission during the postpartum period. The mother and baby are transferred together to the maternity unit, skin to skin if the mother so wishes. If the mother and baby are-well, they usually share a room. The length of stay will depend on the situation of the mother and baby.