5 Birth Plan Essentials to Remember

Image adapted via Flickr/ Dréa Rewal

If you're planning on writing out a birth plan, allow me to put on my labor-and-delivery-nurse hat for a minute and be your birth plan coach. (Haha, get it?)

There are a few things on the other side of the birthing bed that may not be on your radar — things that your medical team will need to know about, so make sure you don't forget these important birth plan essentials!

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options for pain relief
Image via Chaunie Brusie

All of your pain relief options

Sure, you may be set on having an all-natural birth or getting the epidural as soon as humanly possible, but keep in mind that that labor might feel differently for you, even if you've already had a baby before. Every labor is different, and it's important to communicate all of your pain-relief options.

If you're open to trying labor naturally and seeing how it goes, let your nurse know. If you'd like the option to change your mind if you decide all-natural is not for you, be open about that from the start. Your OB nurse wants to support YOUR choices and will not care in the least, tiny bit if you change your mind.

{ MORE: Study Shows Midwives Bring Many Benefits to Safer Birth Outcomes }

Your Birth Team
Image via Chaunie Brusie

Your birthing team

Whether it's just you, you and partner, or a team of photographers, videographers, and beauty experts (a girl can dream, right?) that you're hoping to have in the birthing room with you, let your doctor and nurse know ahead of time. If you need to make special arrangements, for example (some hospitals have limits and age requirements), it's best to try to do so far in advance.

Newborn Medication
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Post-birth medications

One of the first things that will happen after your baby is born is he or she will receive standard newborn medications, which includes an eye ointment to prevent bacterial infections and a vitamin K supplement to help aid your baby's blood clotting.

If you don't want those medications, you will need to make that very clear on the birth plan. Because these medications are so routine, they will be given to your baby in the blink of an eye, so make sure that your wants are understood clearly.

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Newborn care
Image via Chaunie Brusie

Newborn care

Most hospitals by now are pretty standardized with baby-friendly care, which includes immediate skin-to-skin contact, breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth, and minimal interruption between mom-and-baby bonding, such as delaying the bath and cord clamping. But just in case, make sure all of your requests about newborn care are clear. It would help to know the hospital's standard procedures first, and then you can make any additional requests that are different from standard care.

Also, if you want something that's not “baby-friendly,” don't be afraid to ask. With my third baby, for instance, I asked if the nurse could just give him a quick bird bath before I fed him. It only took a few seconds, but it just made it easier for me to snuggle him. No shame, mamas!

Special Circumstances
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Any banned visitors/callers

If you have any extenuating circumstances, such as an estranged mother who you would prefer wasn't given any info about the birth or an ex-boyfriend you don't want to visit, include all of those names and restrictions in your birth plan.

Hospital staff are used to dealing with these types of situations, but they won't know who to ban or exclude unless you tell them. Most facilities will give you a password for entrance into your room that you can then pass on to family and friends you trust. Birth is unpredictable, though, so if there is anyone that should not be near your baby and labor strikes earlier than expected, it won't hurt to have any of important stuff in writing.

{ MORE: 10 Tips for a Family-Centered Cesarean Birth Plan }

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5 Birth Plan Essentials to Remember

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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