What Your Nurse Really Thinks of Your Birth Plan

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Image via Flickr/ Felipe Fernandes Photography

There was a running “name” among the nurses I worked with on the labor and delivery floor of our local hospital for patients who came in with pages-long birth plans–

And they were called c-section patients.

It's a crude attempt at humor for a situation that OB nurses see a lot of: women who are so prepared and so knowledgeable about what they want for their baby's birth that, in the great irony of situations, it also seems to be that those who want the perfect birth the most are the very ones who get hit with the most complications.

It doesn't always go that way, of course, but here's the truth about what your OB nurse may think of your birth plan.

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Image via Flickr/ timefornurses

Your birth plan doesn't have to be written down.

For some reason, the words “birth plan” conjure up a neatly typewritten birth plan that dictates everything about your baby's birth, from the lighting in the room to the time of the first feed.

But honestly, you do not have to type or write out your birth plan. Your care provider will (hopefully) get to know you well enough to answer the big questions before you give birth, and all OB nurses are sensitive to your specific requests as you move through labor, so there's not a pressing need to hand over a huge paper list when you check into the hospital.

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Image via Flickr/ timefornurses

The “big” questions will be answered right away.

Usually when you check in, the nurse will want to get the “big ticket” questions from you right away. Namely, do you want an epidural? If not, how do you want to control your pain? Do you want to breastfeed? Who will be present for the birth? Do you want your baby to have the Hepatitis B vaccine?

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These are topics that women generally have the most concern about, and as your nurses, so do we. If they don't ask, don't be afraid to ask them and make your wishes known.

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Image via Flickr/ University of the Fraser Valley

Be sure to let any special circumstances be known.

While a good nurse will do her best to make sure to find out your wishes about your labor and birth ahead of time or as she goes, if you have a special circumstance or request, be sure to let it be known. It is just not possible to shock a labor and delivery nurse, so if you want something, ask.

I've seen everything from a woman who wanted incense burned to a woman who wanted her boyfriend and her female partner in the room at birth. So when it comes to your labor, anything is on the table if you want it to be.

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Image via Flickr/ Sharon Mollerus

Your nurse won't judge you.

Honestly, we couldn't care less if you want to stand on your head while you give birth or want an entire pizza to eat right after delivery — it's your birth and your baby. As long as it's safe and within our capabilities, we'll do our best to meet your needs.

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Image via Flickr/ deltaMike

But your nurse may need a reminder.

The sad truth of the matter is that nurses are constantly overworked. I've taken care of up to five patients at a time on a busy day, and if I'm rushing in to help with a birth, I may not remember that you requested skin-to-skin after the baby or that dad wanted do the first bottle feed. Nothing wrong with a friendly reminder if your nurse starts to deviate from your plan.

{ MORE: Why I Wrote the Birth Plan for My Third Baby Two Days After Having My Second }

What are the most important parts of your birth plan?

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What do you think?

What Your Nurse Really Thinks of Your Birth Plan

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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