Today at Colorado Family Doula, I discuss preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help. Every birth is miraculous in its own way and every labor and delivery can be different for every family. There are so many unknowns in each situation, so familiarizing yourself with the various possibilities is a fantastic way to better prepare for your own experience.
Creating a birth plan is your opportunity to make the choices that are best for your journey. Your birth plan should not only be shared with your healthcare professional but included in your medical records and available to those present for the birth – including a doula who will ensure your wishes are honored. While having one is not a guarantee of how things will go during the delivery, this guide can be helpful in making the experience better for you, your spouse, and your new arrival.
So, let’s discuss preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help.
Consider where you plan to give birth. A large majority of births take place in a hospital. You may have multiple hospital options available or you may only have one. Take a look at the birthing facilities in the hospital you are considering. Some hospitals offer rooms that feel much more like bedrooms which can help you feel more comfortable.
Birthing centers or maternity centers are also available choices. If your pregnancy is considered low risk, one of these centers may be a great option for you. These facilities tend to focus on low-tech approaches to childbirth. It will be important to research what approaches these facilities use. Many of the services are mainly provided by certified nurse-midwives. If you plan to have an epidural, a birthing center may not be the best match.
Home births are also rising in popularity. These births are sometimes attended by doulas, midwives, birthing coaches, physicians, or certified nurse-midwives. This is a safe and effective option for women in good health with a low-risk pregnancy. You may need to prepare an alternative location in case you need additional medical care.
Ideal Labor Environment
A great way to envision your birth plan is to determine the kind of environment that you think would be helpful to your labor and delivery. Think about whether you want to be able to walk around. Consider things like having access to a shower or bath. Do you want to be able to dim the lights or have access to other options?
Some considerations may not be offered at your preferred location, or at all. They may not even be on your radar. When it comes to preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help, this is a key area. A doula can provide everything from massage to aromatherapy and playing music to create a calming environment as you bring new life into the world.
Who Do You Want to be There?
Some expectant mothers want very few people in the room, while others would prefer a larger support network. It is important to know whether your preferred birth site has limits. People who you may want to consider having in the room include your spouse, doula, other family members, and friends. Having your doula present can also ensure that your birth plan is being followed and taken into consideration regardless of who else is in the room.
Exploring the birthing equipment available at the site of your choice is a great way to further envision your birth plan. There are a few things which may be available for your use or that you might want to consider:
- Special chairs or stools which are designed to support sitting and squatting during labor. This option allows women to take advantage of gravity.
- Use of birthing pools can help ease labor and delivery and are a growing popular option, particularly in-home births.
- Most places have some form of a birthing bed which allows for a variety of positions during labor and delivery.
- Birthing balls are large yoga-like balls that allow you to squat without having to fully support your weight.
When it comes to preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help, contact us here at Colorado Family Doula. I provide both in-person doula packages and virtual doula support to guide you through creating your birth plan according to your unique needs.
Thinking through possible labor and delivery positions can be helpful. Not everyone understands that labor can be a very physical process and can involve a lot of movement. Positions to consider include kneeling, squatting, side-lying, and all fours. A doula who is present at your birth can walk you and your spouse or support person through utilizing ideal positioning to ease pain and facilitate the birthing process.
Additional Labor and Delivery Considerations
There are some additional considerations that you may want to include in your birth plan or discuss with a doula or your healthcare professional.
- External fetal monitoring. This type of monitoring can be done intermittently which allows for you to move around. There is also continuous external fetal monitoring which frequently requires you to remain in bed.
- Pain relief or no pain relief.
- This is an incision that is done to enlarge the vaginal opening and to prevent tearing. You can also choose no episiotomy and use compresses, massage, and other options to reduce potential tearing.
- Partner cutting the umbilical cord.
It is important to also consider what you want to happen after the birth. Are you interested in umbilical cord-blood donation or banking? Do you want your baby boy to be circumcised? Do you want your new baby to remain in the room with your during your recovery? Would you prefer your baby to stay in the nursery at night or at certain times?
When it comes to preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help, this is one area not everyone thinks about. For all of my mommas, I remain at the hospital for hours after the birth and visit you the next day. As your doula, I will continue to be the bridge between you and the medical staff to ensure your postpartum preferences are being followed.
As you can see, preparing your birth plan and how a doula can help go hand in hand. Here at Colorado Family Doula, I offer a variety of options to assist with your birth plan, including an online education series, a full range of in-person doula options, as well as an affordable, 60-minute virtual doula consultation where we will focus completely on your birth plan. Get in touch today and let me know how I can best support you.