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Your Birth Plan
by Rebecca Garland

As delivery nears, you begin to give a bit more thought to the inevitable – that baby must come out. While there are really only two ways a baby is born, vaginally or by cesarean, there are many birth decisions you should consider and discuss with your significant other and medical professional long before the anxious trip to the hospital in the midst of labor.

Method of Delivery
Your first decision will be the style of delivery. Will you be having a repeat c-section? Have you opted for a c-section for medical reasons? Will you be waiting until the baby comes naturally or using a method of induction at a certain point? Discuss your preferences with your doctor and seek his input on what medically makes the most sense in your case.

Delivery Location
Once the method of delivery is decided, you must decide on the location of the birth. Cesarean births are major surgery which must be performed in a hospital, and your doctor may decide for you that a riskier vaginal birth of twins or following a prior c-section be done in the

hospital as well in case of emergency. Traditional vaginal births might take place in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, but your pain control options will be limited by location.

Pain Control
A primary consideration for many moms-to-be is the method of pain control used. Delivery is painful, there is no doubt about it, but there are options available to control the pain. Surgery will require a spinal tap and/or walking epidural. If those don’t take, you’ll be placed under general aesthesia. There is not much option available to you here.

Mothers delivering vaginally can opt for an epidural to control pain continuously, or intravenous drugs administered as needed. A local anesthesia can be applied for delivery if needed, and many mothers prefer to use breathing techniques or hypnosis as a form of pain control and skip pharmaceuticals entirely. If you opt for a natural birth, consider installing a “code word” you can say during labor if the pain becomes too much to bear. This word will alert your significant other that you are in serious need of pain control and will leave no room for confusion or argument.

People Present
Once the major decisions are made, you have other decisions to make in advance such as who will be in the delivery room. Some women invite their whole families which others prefer only the father of the baby present. Some want their mothers or sisters, and some fathers are simply not up the task of watching a delivery. Discuss this with your spouse and family to find the right solution. Then, once you know who’s attending, decide where they should stand and if there are any limits in place.

Soothing Techniques
You’ll want to practice various soothing techniques such as breathing or hypnosis before and include items such as birthing balls and birthing bars in your plan if you want to try them during labor and delivery. Showers and baths should be mentioned as well.

Pictures
As your spouse will likely be too busy helping you breathe and deliver the baby, consider asking a trusted family member or hiring a professional photographer to document the event. Be sure to place limits beforehand on what should be included in pictures and what shots are off limits.

Bonding
Once the baby is out, give specific instructions as to where you would like the baby placed. Should the baby immediately be given to you or cleaned up first? Who will cut the cord and should the baby be taken out for his first exams? The hospital will likely have procedures, but if you ask or request politely a reasonable compromise can often be reached.

Once labor is over Baby will be here! Be sure to share your bundle of joy using your personalized baby website.

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