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Planning for Delivery Day: What to Prepare for Before Labor

Your (and the baby’s) big day is almost here! You’ve planned your diet for the last nine months and listened to affirmations daily. Like a Rocky montage – you’ve trained for this delivery.

You’ve also learned that an 11:00 pm Taco Bell run is a-ok. Whatever your journey (is/was), the baby is ready to come into the world.

With all that said, did you make a birth plan? A birth plan is an outline of preferences for labor and delivery. Your birth plan could include the people you want in the room with you, pain meds, or even the delivery room's lighting.

Some things will be out of your hands – but setting your preferences early will allow your doctors (and partner) to be ready. Be flexible if something unexpected happens, but always be prepared.

What should your birth plan include?

Most birth plans will outline the big day's basic needs. While you may want to include everything (and every detail) – keep it as simple as possible and easy for everyone to read (and navigate).

Some things you might consider in your birth plan include:

Contact information: Include your name, contact information, health insurance, and where you plan to give birth. Your birth plan will make the journey to the (right) hospital much more manageable. If you call ahead and can’t get a hold of your OB-GYN or midwife – having them listed in your birth plan will ensure the right people get contacted.

Before labor preferences: Despite what your partner says – you’re not trying to set the mood by having the lights turned low. Setting your atmosphere before you give birth can help keep you relaxed. Some other considerations could be:

  • Who should be present in the room for delivery
  • Walking or sitting up during labor
  • Having a tub birth (if one is available)
  • The use of cameras or phones
  • Your specific birthing positions

Labor preferences: Do you want to walk freely after birth? If so, you may consider a natural birth versus an epidural. An epidural is an injection into your back to stop you from feeling pain during delivery. You can walk within half an hour after your epidural injection, but it may not be that way for you. Some of the other scenarios you might want to consider are:

  • The use of an IV or catheter
  • Natural tearing vs. episiotomies. An episiotomy is a cut in the tissue between your vaginal opening and anus during childbirth.
  • The use of alternative pain meds
  • The use of vacuum extraction or forceps during birth interventions

Newborn care: This part of your birth plan should share your expectations for you and the baby's care. Do you want to hold the baby immediately after birth? Do you have special requests? Some other common birth plan requests include:

  • When to cut the umbilical cord
  • Having a lactation consultant to help
  • Having your partner catch the baby
  • Requests around the placenta

Vaginal delivery vs. C-section: You probably aren’t planning for a C-section, but if it’s deemed medically necessary, be prepared with your preferences.

Who needs to have my birth plan?

While you may feel your birth plan is constantly in flux, you must pass it along on the day of delivery. Your doctor should be given a copy to keep within your medical records. Upon entrance to the hospital – you can provide a copy to nurses. If you have more people in the delivery room, inform them of your birth plan. If anyone in the room doesn’t seem to acknowledge your birth plan, give them an intense stare. Guaranteed to work.

It’s not uncommon for someone other than your planned doctor (OB-GYN) to deliver the baby. Like a teacher handing back grades to students – give them a copy of your birth plan.

You’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about your pregnancy. You researched car seats and breastfeeding holds and decided if you’d be breastfeeding and how much time you would spend with the baby at home. You’ve been doing great!

Your birth plan should be carried out the way you designed it, but there are always possibilities for changes. Building flexibility into your birth plan will provide less stress and more “yes!” to your day. Childbirth can be unpredictable. Plan for what you can.

Bottom-line: A birth plan may help you feel more prepared for labor and delivery. It can feel empowering to have control over the unpredictability of birth. Always remember that a birth plan is a written document, not a contract. There are good chances it will be carried out the way you wrote it – but a plan could always change.

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We recommend our Pink Stork Labor Prep as you prepare for the delivery of your child. If you’re more of a tea drinker, we have a delicious Labor + Postpartum Drink you can carry over drinking even after the birth. Planning on using our Total Postnatal + DHA is a great addition to your post-birth plan while you heal and prepare.

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