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When you are pregnant, a birth plan is crucial. In the heat of the moment, you may very well forget everything you have learned and your preferences for birth. With a birth plan prepared, your wishes will be more likely to be respected by your health care providers. Whether you go into labor naturally, have to be induced, or have the unexpected happen, creating a birth plan can help you stay as in control as possible.
Even if you are not planning on having a cesarean, having a section in your birth plan that addresses the possibility of c section is a good idea. Births do not always go as you expect, so if you do need to have a c section due to unforeseen circumstances such as a breech baby, a cervix that won't dilate past a certain point, or fetal stress, having a birth plan that goes over your wishes is wise. If you are strongly against having a c section, acknowledging that you will have one in a medical emergency is the simplest way to address it. You can also request as natural a c section as possible, meaning you still have skin-to-skin contact following the surgery and have a clear curtain used during the c section itself. Remember, at the end of the day, the goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mom.
When you get to the actual delivery portion of your birth plan, you will want to consider your thoughts on birthing tools such as a vacuum and forceps. If a doctor does not use such birthing tools properly, the child can be permanently injured. Sometimes, though, the use of these tools can be deemed medically necessary if your baby is under stress or if you have been laboring too long and your body is under too much stress. Being aware of the different tools used and their purposes will help you feel more in control.
Another aspect of your birth plan that you want to be mindful of is what happens immediately after your baby has been delivered. Here is where you will want to address preferences such as skin-to-skin time, the baby rooming in with you, and what follow-up care you would like for your newborn, such as antibiotic eye ointment.
The last aspect of the birth plan to keep in mind is your recovery. You will want to consider whether you want pain management and birth control administered in the hospital. You will also want to determine whether you are okay with your baby being brought to the nursery so you can get some much-needed rest.
A birth plan work to ensure that everything goes the way you imagine it to. While certain things will be out of your control, preparation will go a long way toward making the birthing process run smoothly.