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What is a Hospital Plan (aka Birth Plan)?

By Shaina Santagata

When a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, creating a birth plan is a powerful way to take control of your childbirth experience and ensure that your wishes are respected. We will define a birth plan, discuss its importance, and provide insights tailored to birth mothers considering adoption. Our Adoption Choices of Kansas team is committed to honoring your choices, ensuring you feel informed and confident in each choice. Each birth mother’s journey and circumstances are unique to her and her baby. Regardless of your path – adoption, parenting, or exploring options – we are here to give you information, resources, and personalized guidance.

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is not just a generic set of instructions but a personalized document that outlines your unique labor, delivery, and postpartum care preferences. The purpose of it is to provide expectant mothers with the ability to advocate for themselves and their babies. It is a communication tool between you and your healthcare team, allowing you to express your desires and priorities during this transformative time.

What are the Key Points to Include in a Birth Plan?

Labor Environment

  • Whether you prefer dim lighting, music, or a calm atmosphere
  • Indicate your desire for who should be present during labor and delivery, including partners, family members, or a doula.

Pain management

  • Outline your preferences for pain relief options such as an epidural, nitrous oxide, or natural pain management techniques like breathing exercises or a massage.
  • Medications that are prescribed and safe for you and your baby, with included risks, will be gone over with you by the nurse or the doctor.
  • Specify your willingness to consider alternative pain management methods based on labor progression and medical advice.

Labor Positions

  • Express the labor positions most comfortable and conducive to the birth process.
  • Include mobility preferences such as walking, using a birthing ball, or pr laboring in a water tub.
  • Keep in mind that some pushing positions are not possible with an epidural and should be discussed before receiving one if that is an option you choose.

Delivery Preferences

  • Specify your preferences for the delivery process, including whether you prefer a spontaneous or direct pushing approach.
  • Indicate your preferences for episiotomy, if necessary, or perineal support during delivery.
  • It is important to remember that labor is a quickly changing process and to be open to what is best for you and your baby.

Immediate Postpartum Care

  • Outline your preferences for immediate postpartum care, such as delayed cord clamping, immediate skin-to-skin, and breastfeeding initiation.
  • Specify any preferences for newborn procedures like eye ointment, vitamin K shot, or newborn screening tests.

Cesarean Birth Preferences (if applicable)

  • Include preferences for cesarean (C-Section) birth, such as music in the operating room, presence of a support person, and desire for skin-to-skin contact after birth.
  • Also, state any preferences for anesthesia during the C-Section, such as regional or general anesthesia.

Feeding Preferences

  • Indicate your feeding preferences for your newborn, whether it’s breastfeeding, formula feeding, or a combination of both. It is entirely your choice, and as the saying goes, “fed is best.”
  • You can also specify your desire for lactation support or assistance with formula feeding if needed.

Special Circumstances and Preferences

  • Include any circumstances or cultural preferences significant to you during labor, delivery, and postpartum care.
  • Communicate your preferences regarding photography or video recording during labor and delivery.

We know this might be a bit to take in all at once. Give yourself time to consider these points and do what feels best for you. Most importantly, you should discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider to ensure that your preferences align with your medical needs and the policies of your birthing facility.

Why Does a Birth Plan Matter?

A birth plan is more than just a document. It reflects your desires, priorities, and hopes for your childbirth experience. By creating a birth plan, you can communicate your preferences to your healthcare team and loved ones, fostering a collaborative and supportive environment. Having the opportunity and allowing time to address any concerns, explore alternatives, and ensure that your expectations are heard matters. A well-thought-out birth plan can help reduce stress and anxiety during labor by providing clarity and structure, enabling you to focus on the joy of welcoming your baby into the world.

What else should a Birth Mother Consider with Adoption?

  • Agency Communication: Coordinating with Adoption Choices of Kansas will help you to integrate adoption preferences into your birth plan and ensure there is a seamless transition for the baby’s placement.
  • Optional Sections: Consider including optional sections in your birth plan, such as preferences for naming the baby or participating in early bonding activities.

We want you to try and remember that childbirth can be unpredictable, and being flexible with your birth plan will take some of the tension off of labor and delivery. Please discuss any changes or concerns with your healthcare provider and adoption agency to verify that all your wishes are respected throughout the process.

We hope this guide provided clarity and insight into how you can find some peace with your pregnancy’s labor and delivery process. Our goal is to provide expectant mothers, including those considering adoption, with valuable information and resources to create a birth plan that reflects their wishes. Reach out to us today at Adoption Choices of Kansas! Our compassionate team is here to support you and your baby. We will build a future that leads to happiness, empathy, and unconditional love.

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