How to Make a Birth Plan for the Hospital
During pregnancy, it’s hard for a pregnant mother to avoid thinking about the birth of their baby. It’s natural to feel nervous and uncertain about labor and delivery, especially if this is your first pregnancy. A birth plan can reduce many of those feelings and empower you to be your own best advocate for how your delivery should go.
A birth plan serves as a guide for your preferences, and it aids the communication process between you, your support person, and your healthcare providers. Expectant mothers who make birthing plans often feel a better sense of control over their experience.
Your individualized plan will help you prepare for your labor and delivery, and it will ensure that everyone attending to you is sensitive to your decisions.
What is a Birth Plan?
A birth plan is your personalized document that communicates things you want and don’t want during your labor, delivery, and post-birth time at the hospital. Since doctors and nurses attend to many different women, this summary helps them tailor their approach to what works best for you.
During labor, it is tough to express your wishes. Between your contractions, the activity in the delivery room, and the number of people you may interact with, you would find it hard to keep everyone on the same page. Your birth plan does this job for you so that you can trust the people around you to respect your preferences.
If you are a birth mom and will be placing your baby for adoption, it is extremely important for your birth plan to specify what will happen after delivery. Medical teams are trained to be sensitive and supportive to your circumstances, but they need to know what expectations you have for your time in the hospital.
Key Components of a Birth Plan
Your birth plan is unique to you, but you don’t have to start it from scratch. An adoption caseworker can get you started with a sample birth plan, and you can also search for birth plan examples online to see if there are any that make sense to you.
Many people prefer a birth plan checklist so that it’s easy for the medical team to scan. You might want to include a few paragraphs before and after the checklist to make sure you share anything important to you. Your support person in the hospital should read your plan several times to ensure they know what you expect. That way, they can advocate for you anytime you’re unable to speak for yourself.
When considering how to make a birth plan, think in terms of the birth process. State your preferences for your time during labor, during delivery, and post-birth recovery. In labor, you might want to spell out your intentions for pain medication or natural childbirth and who may be in the room to support you. In delivery, you may want to talk about what interventions you consent to and whether or not you’d like to hold or see your baby. Post-delivery, will you spend time with your baby, participate in feeding, or accept visitors?
Special Considerations for Birth Mothers Considering Adoption
Birth moms who work with Haven Adoptions are encouraged to take their time writing a birth plan. The birth mom’s caseworker will ensure she is fully aware of all of her options, educated about the birth experience, and help to create a personalized plan that outlines all of her wishes. Our goal is to help them feel both empowered and protected by making sure they are treated with dignity and respect every moment of their birth experience.
The hospital staff needs to be fully informed about whether or not the mom desires to spend time with the baby after birth. If she explicitly states in her birth plan that she does not wish to see the baby, it’s very important for the nurses and infant team to be aware. Your caseworker can communicate with the hospital on your behalf if you need help ensuring that your wishes will be honored.
We are diligent in sharing a birth mom’s plan with the adoptive parents so that everyone is able to respect boundaries in the hospital. In an open adoption plan, the birth mom might want to have the adoptive parents visit to spend time with her and the baby in the hospital. A mom who elects a closed adoption might prefer not to have the adoptive parents come to the hospital until she has been discharged. Of course, there are many options in between, and we help you think through all of them.
Benefits of Having a Birth Plan
The biggest benefit of having a birth plan is that it gives you peace of mind as an expectant mom that other people understand where you are coming from and what you want for your experience. You will not carry the stress and anxiety of trying to communicate information about your wishes while you are in the middle of labor. Especially if you have an adoption plan, the birth plan will help you avoid having to go through unnecessary painful interactions.
The other benefit is the feeling of empowerment that you can be in control of your life decisions for yourself and your child. Choosing adoption is an incredibly difficult experience, and giving birth on your terms is an opportunity to have confidence in your abilities. Your caseworker will support you by making sure your plan is communicated to, and understood by, your medical team and the adoptive parents.
How an Adoption Agency Supports Birth Mothers in Creating a Birth Plan
For women planning to put their baby up for adoption, working with an adoption agency can make it much easier to prepare a birth plan.
For instance, an adoption agency can support your hospital birth plan through various birth mother services. Your caseworker can help you review examples and templates, think through your options, and review the plan periodically to make sure it’s still what you want. They may also be able to connect you with other birth moms through a peer support program so that you can learn more about what worked for other moms, or what they wish they had done differently. It’s important to keep in mind that your plan should be unique to you, but it might help to hear from women who have been where you are now.
If at any time, you are uncertain about your birth plan, or you need help communicating your wishes, your advocate is right there for you. Your caseworker will support you in carrying out your plan and help you think through any last minute changes.
If you are considering adoption for your child, and you didn’t think that writing a birth plan was an option for you, please reach out to us. Haven Adoptions supports and guides birth moms through every step of their adoption journey with a focus on empowering them to make the best decisions for themselves and their babies. You deserve a birth plan that ensures you will receive respectful and informed care throughout your labor and delivery experience. Our advocates are here to listen 24/7.