Your Birth Preferences

Your Birth Preferences

Often referred to as a birth plan, or birth wish list, a birth preference list is a document you create during pregnancy for your yourself, your partner, your doula, and/or your care providers. A birth preference list serves as a way to make informed, autonomous choices about how you would like the different potential paths of your pregnancy, birth, and the period just after your birth to go. Keep in mind that we can never control all aspects of birth so staying flexible is an important part of the unpredictable beauty of birth. Writing a birth preference list is a great time to explore your options and different ways you can make your wishes for many different outcomes clear.

Here is a list of some of the things you may want to include on your birth preference list to help you get an idea of the choices you may make for your birth expereince. Discussing your birth prefereces with your care providers is a great way to get to know them, and it gives them an opportunity to know a bit more about you. Not all birthing options are available at each birthing location. So it’s a great idea to go over your wishes when you are visiting hospitals or birth centers to see if their values and style of care match with what you are looking for.

 

  • Who do you want to be present?
  • What kind of environment would you like to labor in? (low lighting, quiet, as hospital personnel in the room as possible)
  • What activities or positions do you plan to use? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees, birth ball)
  • Do you want mobility, or do you wish to stay in bed?
  • Do you want to wear your own clothing?
  • Do you want to use the tub or shower?
  • Do you want to listen to music and have focal points?
  • Do you prefer a certain position to birth in?
  • What would you like for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, hydrotherapy, or medication)
  • How do you feel about fetal monitoring? Continuous, intermittent, or only when baby shows signs of distress?
  • Do you want to take pain medications, or not? Do you have a preference for certain pain medications?
  • How do you feel about having an episiotomy? Or, are there certain measures you want to use to avoid one?
  • What are your preferences for your baby’s care? (when to feed, where to sleep)
  • When would you prefer to use an IV? Only when dehydrated?
  • Would you like directed or spontaneous pushing?
  • Do you want immediate skin to skin contact?
  • Are you wishing to delay the cord clamping for baby?
  • How do you plan to feed baby right after birth?
  • If a Caesarean is necessary, do you have any special requests?
  • Do you have any special cultural or religious traditions you would like the hospital staff to know about?
  • After the birth I’d like to stay as long/as short as possible in the hospital
Becoming educated on your options and creating a birth preference list is one of the best ways to feel empowered about your birth and remain calm even if unexpected events occur. And remember, this is your birth, not anyone else’s. So what is right for you may not be the same path that you mother, sister, or best friend took on their birthing journeys.
Image from pixabay.com
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