Creating a birth plan is a great way to communicate your desires to your care provider. Many people think birth plans are only if you are planning hospital birth, but I disagree. It's true that if you are natural minded, you may need to voice your desires more plainly in a system that isn't used to those challenging routine care. But, many people don't realize just how many options you have when planning to give birth at home. You can really hone in on what things are important to you and your family.
Below you'll find a list of birth plan options that I use for my own clients, but please feel free to change it to your own needs. I ask my clients to check those preferences they'd like and leave the rest blank. For the printable version of a homebirth, birth plan, click below.
WHO WOULD YOU LIKE PRESENT AT YOUR BIRTH?
Really think about this one. It is really tempting to invite everyone since unlike the hospital there aren't restrictions on who can be present. But, you don't want to feel like you are being watched or that you need to be a hostess. Anyone present should be supportive of you emotionally, physically, and isn't super nervous about your decision to have a homebirth. You might also consider hiring a birth photographer or a labor doula for extra support.
WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU WOULD LIKE FOR YOUR BIRTH? Would you like a waterbirth? Or at least have the option to labor in a nice warm tub? If baths aren't your thing, you could use something else like a birth stool. You can get a great blow up birth stool at Amazon, and some Midwives will have their own. You also want to consider whether or not you or your partner would like to catch the baby. Most Midwives are very accommodating and will help your partner or sibling be as involved as they'd like to be. You can also incorporate music, or essential oils... you can really have fun thinking about what kind of comfort measures you'd like to try.
DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC PREFERENCES?
When it comes to vaginal exams or monitoring, your Midwife will have her own routines that she's used to and it will be helpful to go over these with her. Will she only use a Doppler, or is she also comfortable with a Fetoscope? If you do the GBS screening and test positive, what are her protocols for that and are you ok with them? When your baby is born and your placenta is ready to come out, does your Midwife practice active management (using Pitocin or herbs) or does she wait and see if you having any excess bleeding (expectant management).
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR INFANT FEEDING & NEWBORN SCREENINGS
It's important to talk to your Midwife about your goals for feeding your baby. Are you planning on breastfeeding? Do you want to get a lot of information about pumping if you plan to go back to work? There are also different offerings that Midwives provide when it comes to newborn screenings. In the state of Iowa it is mandated that clients are offered the Blood Spot Screening, Hearing Screening and CCHD (Heart Screening). You can waive these screenings, but they are important to discuss.
IF I TRANSFER TO THE HOSPITAL, I WOULD LIKE:
Even though the plan is of course to have a lovely homebirth, sometimes complications do arise. It's important to have an open mind and try to set yourself up for support even if your birth place changes. I recommend talking to your Midwife to see what she offers in terms of support should you transfer. If you have other children or pets that need to be taken care of, I also recommend you have someone on speed dial who can come over and help take care of them.
I hope that these are helpful prompts for you to have positive conversations with your care provider. My hope for you is that no matter how your birth unfolds, that you feel seen, heard and involved in the process.