How to create a birth plan for your baby

Image 1 of 8

If your baby is on the way, you may want to get planning.

Dr. Alexis Dunn, Ph.D., a Research Assistant Professor at the Emory School of Nursing and Certified Nurse Midwife, says some of her patients are sitting down with their partners and writing out a birth plan.

"It's good to think through what you might want, right," Dunn asks.  "Birth is an experience.  It's not just going to the hospital or birth center, or doing a home birth, you want to think about, how do you want this to go?

She encourages couples to think about their priorities.

Like, for example, who do you want to be present during your baby's birth?

"Do we want our baby, once they're born, to be placed on the for skin-to-skin," Dunn tells couples to ask themselves. "Do we want immediate breast feeding?  Do we any newborn procedures to be delayed, like the newborn bath, or, babies sometimes have to get newborn immunizations.  Do you want that delayed?"

Pain control is another you might want to spell out in your plan, Dunn says.

 "I've had women who've had a birth plan where they've discussed with their partner, 'Listen, I don't want to be offered any pain medication,'" Dunn says.  "Because they feel, if they say they want to go natural, if every 10 or 15 minutes, someone is saying, 'Hey, what's your pain score?  Do you want pain (medication)?' That can be an irritant. So, they might discuss with their partner and put in their birth plan, I don't even want to be offered any pain medicine.  If I want some, I will ask for it."

Dunn encourages couples to do an online search for birth plans to help them map out their preferences.

"A lot of them, I think, they like having a document they can share with their nurse, with their provider, with their family members that come in," she says.

Still, Dunn cautions, birth can be unpredictable, even with the best-laid plans.

"So, yes.  I think it's really good to think about it, but also to remember that it's a plan," Dunn says.  "It's not like, 'This is what I'm going to get."  It's, "This is what I want."