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Factors to Consider When Developing Your Labor and Delivery Plan

Factors to Consider When Developing Your Labor and Delivery Plan

A birth plan is a written outline of your preferences and goals for before, during, and after labor and delivery. In it, you can share your ideal birth scenario. 

In addition to expressing your preferences, a birth plan considers what is realistic and practicable, as well as what your care team, hospital, or birthing facility has available or will accommodate. 

Here at the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, our team, led by board-certified OB/GYN Sharon Breit, MD, recommends that expectant parents complete a birth plan as part of their prenatal and postnatal care.

To help you decide if a birth plan is right for you and what to include in one, our team has put together some helpful information about the benefits of having all of your preferences in one place.

Communication with your health care provider

A crucial first step in creating a labor and delivery plan is open and honest communication with your provider. Discuss your preferences, concerns, and any specific medical considerations that may affect your birthing experience. 

Understanding Dr. Breit's practices, as well as her stance on interventions and pain management options, helps align your expectations and enables better decision-making.

Birth location

Deciding on the birth location is a key aspect of the plan. Consider whether you prefer a hospital, a birth center, or a home birth. Each option has its advantages, so researching and understanding the available resources, facilities, and safety measures is essential. 

Discuss the risks, benefits, and any specific protocols with Dr. Breit to make an informed decision.

Pain management options

There’s some pain and discomfort associated with labor and delivery, so consider pain management techniques that align with your needs. While pain during labor and delivery is highly individual and varies from woman to woman, there are common approaches to managing it.

Learn about the various pain management options, such as natural methods (breathing techniques, water therapy, massage) or medical interventions (epidural anesthesia). 

Consider your pain tolerance, personal beliefs, and any contraindications to specific pain relief methods when deciding what pain management options to include in your plan.

Support team

It takes some time to identify who you want with you during labor and delivery. Whether it's your partner, a family member, or a doula, having a support team that aligns with your preferences can significantly affect your birthing experience. 

Discuss their roles and expectations in your labor and delivery plan, including considerations for emotional support, advocacy, and help with decision-making.

Interventions and special circumstances

While every parent hopes for a smooth, uncomplicated birth, it's crucial to consider potential interventions and special circumstances. 

Discuss the need for interventions such as induction or cesarean section. Include your preferences, understanding that the ultimate goal is the health and safety of you and your baby.

Post-delivery preferences

Beyond the labor process itself, think about post-delivery preferences. Consider factors such as:

Including these preferences in your plan lays the groundwork for a positive postpartum experience.

Planning for the unexpected 

While it's important to have a plan, it’s equally crucial to recognize the unpredictability of childbirth. During labor and delivery, unexpected scenarios can come up anytime. It’s a good idea to have some flexibility and to discuss this aspect in your plan. 

Rest assured that you can rely on the expertise of our Center for Women’s Health team in making decisions that prioritize your health and your baby's well-being. 

Creating a labor and delivery plan empowers you to take an active role in your birthing experience. To learn more, contact us at our Wichita, Kansas, office to request an appointment with Dr. Breit.

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