5 Things to Include in Your Birth Plan

Almost every mom these days has a birth plan for their upcoming birth. But what exactly is a birth plan? And what should you include? Below, I am going to give you a few tips to help you in deciding what is important to you for your birth and what should be optional based on your birth experience. 

  • Who will be attending your birth?

It is helpful for the hospital staff or midwife to know who you want in your personal space when birthing. If your partner, doula and birth photographer are all you can envision being there when your little bundle arrives, make sure the people supporting you understand your wishes. Nurses are great allies when that unwanted visitor shows up to the hospital. I often offer my families my assistance in redirecting well-meaning family members to the waiting room, or even better, sending them on a "very important" errand! 

  • How do you want to labor?

Do you envision yourself moving a lot in labor? Do you see yourself laboring in water at some point? Do you think you’ll like to have music, candles, aromatherapy or other ambiance to set the tone of the room? Include these wishes in your preferences. Moms who move during labor instinctually work with their bodies to get baby into great birthing positions. Having the opportunity to move as and when you feel is best helps with an uninhibited birth.

property of Ian Norris photography
  • What routine procedures do you want to opt out of?

Not a fan of needles? Does the idea of continuous fetal monitoring seem counterintuitive to you? Speak to your provider about your options for hep-lock or IV refusal. Find out what your provider feels comfortable with and discuss how you can both get what you’d like. Do you want to eat and drink during labor? Research is actually on your side for that one! Asking your provider what routine procedures are typically expected will give you a good base for what you might want to decline. 

  • How do you want to actually give birth?

In many instances, mothers will give birth in uncomfortable positions and with interventions they do not actually want but due to being in labor, can’t have that important discussion to decline something or clarify her wishes. It is best to have this discussion before you ever go into labor so your provider knows what to expect. If you’re birthing in a hospital or birth center, it’s a great idea for you or your doula to discuss with the staff what your expectations during pushing are so they can uphold them. If there are things that are very important to you, such as no counting or delayed cord clamping until pulsation stops or placenta encapsulation, make sure that is highlighted in your plan.

  • Newborn baby procedures!

Do you want immediate skin-to-skin with baby? How about erythromycin? Do you want baby to be suctioned upon birth of the head or not at all? Are you leaving baby intact or choosing to circumcise? These are all important baby procedures that need to be discussed beforehand with your care provider. If you are wanting anything out of standard hospital procedures for a birth in a hospital, be sure to alert your nurses as well. Most midwives will encourage you to hold your baby right away and will not disrupt that bonding time until you are ready, unless it becomes medically necessary. 

I include all of this information and so much more during our prenatal visits together. I also offer the option to come with you as you discuss your birth plan with your provider. It is helpful for us all to be on the same page and aware of everyones roles and expectations when working together. 

For more information and tips on creating your ideal birth plan, please contact me! You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter as well. Just click on the icons at the bottom of the page! 

5 Reasons to Hire a Doula

1. Information- Yes, you are perfectly capable of reading books and taking childbirth classes without a doula! What you will not usually have is extensive training on labor and childbirth and how to give families up to date information on the questions they might have. Educated and informed consent and refusal is ideal for all families. Through my multiple doula trainings, I have discovered the best ways to offer local families information on the questions they have, while remaining neutral regarding their decisions. I want you to have a beautiful birth, however that looks for you. 

2. Hands-on support- I love to see a partner supporting a laboring mother. I also know what it’s like to offer a double hip squeeze until my arms are about to fall off, I haven’t used the restroom in at least 12 hours and I am asleep on my feet. That is a lot for your partner to take on while they are supporting you in labor and are excited to meet their child. Having another support person in the room that knows and understands your birth goals can be priceless, to you and dad. Often, partners and I will tag team physical support for a birthing mom. There are times I leave the room to offer some privacy to the birthing couple as well. I love utilizing the rebozo, massage, effleurage, counter pressure and physical support to my clients. You never know when you will need this, but having it can be so beneficial to your labor and birth experience. 

3. Intuition- There are times that I just know a baby needs something specific to be born vaginally. I cannot explain how I know this but I often give these intuitive suggestions to the mother to utilize with much success. After years of watching mothers in the Oklahoma City metro area labor and birth, I have come to be able to know what certain sounds a mother makes mean. Offering position changes, hands on support, visual distractions, guided breath and reassurance help not only mom, but her partner and baby as well. Being in tune with my doula clients is important to me and an advantage to them.

property of Ian Norris Photography

property of Ian Norris Photography


4. Sounding Board- Sometimes, augmenting labor becomes a real possibility. When this happens, it is beneficial for the family to have another, objective person in the room to discuss the possibilities with. Often, there is only one choice presented by the provider. When this happens, I can help you navigate the options and need for the suggestions being given. You are the one to advocate for yourself via open and honest communication with your provider. I am there beside you to remind you of your goals and how these choices might affect those outcomes. Supporting you in the decision you make is a given. I love an empowered family!

5. Snacks- I have a Mary Poppins bag of goodies, which consists mostly of snacks and food items. I happily share with both mom and partner. On any given day, you will find in my bag some sort of raw nuts, nut butters, honey sticks (great for energy!), various protein bars, jerky (dads love this!), hard candies, mints, gum, fruit, and sometimes chocolate. Keeping your energy up while laboring is so important. Birth is a marathon, not a sprint. If you have not prepared to go 24 hours with no sleep, food or physical rest, it can really take a real toll on your body and mental status. That is why I offer snacks to my clients. What about the "no food or drink" rule imposed by most hospitals, you ask? It is a practice that is not backed by evidence and is actually not needed. If your provider gives you grief over food or drink, you are able to sign a right of refusal. *I also carry new lip balms for mom. Mouth breathing dries out your lips. 

I hope this post has been of some help to anyone in the Oklahoma City area who is considering hiring a doula. There are many other reasons why my services is invaluable to your home birth or hospital birth. I would be happy to go over them during a face to face consult. Please go to the contact me section to set that meeting up as space is limited! 

Peace, Deanna