Creating an Action Plan for Your Delivery
In the early days of both my pregnancies, I recall feeling as if my due date was so far into the future. Among the many decisions that I made early on, one that helped me the most was to create an action plan for my delivery.
A comprehensive action plan for the birth of your child can be empowering and informative. By clarifying your preferences, you can address hopes, fears, and concerns in advance. I created an action plan so that I'd feel prepared as well as reassured that my healthcare team and I were on the same page.
I'm happy to offer an action plan with a sampling of questions to ask yourself and your healthcare provider. Since I knew I was giving birth at a hospital, some questions are specific to hospital deliveries and/or may not apply to your particular preferences.
Whether you take a glance, utilize each section, or choose the specific areas that are of importance to you, I hope an action plan helps communicate your goals and leads to a safe and healthy delivery.
My goals for labor?
- What/if any types of induction may be used?
- What/if any are the types of hospital policies that may impact an induction/labor/cesarean section?
- Specific birthing positions I may wish to try during labor?
Important factors to know about me:
- Any physical, emotional, or psychological needs that you may need to address in advance?
My pain management goals:
- The type of pain relief I'd prefer?
- Any pain measures I'd like to avoid?
The people or items I'd like during labor/delivery:
- Who would I like to witness the birth?
- Would I want to watch the birth with a mirror if possible?
- Types of equipment I may prefer such as a birthing ball, soothing lighting, or music?
- Who may see me shortly after giving birth?
- Who I'd like to cut the umbilical cord?
- Plans for cord blood banking?
My Feeding preferences:
- Planning to take an infant care class?
After giving birth, my preferences include:
- Preferences for rooming-in at the hospital?
- Universal Newborn Screening questions?
- Hearing Screening for Newborns questions?
- Pacifier use preferences?
- Circumcision if it's a boy?
There are hundreds of other questions that can be added to an action plan for your delivery and it can be as comprehensive or as brief as you prefer. The ultimate goal is to promote communication in advance.
It’s also really important to choose a healthcare provider or birth partner that makes you feel comfortable, supports your preferences, and offers education and information throughout your pregnancy.
If you ever feel that you're not getting a response to your questions from your healthcare provider or you feel uncertain about any aspect of your pregnancy or action plan for labor and delivery, it should be discussed immediately. Please communicate your concerns and know that by advocating for yourself, you are also advocating for your baby.
Did you have a birth plan? We'd love to hear questions that you'd include or recommend to others who are developing their action plan for delivery.
See below for some items you might want to bring with you to the hospital when the time comes!
Linda Scruggs RN, BSN has specialized for over 12 years in reproductive medicine and women's health as a nurse. She is a mom of two young children and her work can be seen on her family health/parenting blog, as a contributor for The Huffington Post, and in one of the top fertility centers in the country. Follow Linda on Instagram @UnboxedMom, and Twitter @MOMtility.