by Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt
Below is a sample birth plan based on the preferences of a typical hypno-birthing couple. Yours may vary, but consider the length and format as a guide. 2 pages is the longest it should be, and using bullet points or small paragraphs will help ensure it gets read. Your doctor or midwife will most likely want to talk to you about your labor and birth at the 36 week visit, but you can talk to them at any time now about your Birth Plan if you wish.
I advise my students to talk to their doctors/midwives every time they see them about their birth preferences, so that the seeds can be planted that you have special needs, and feedback can be given by the care provider. You will then be able to get an idea of how they feel about what you want.
Presenting it as a list of "preferences" instead of demands is crucial, and always with respect. Asking the doctor or midwife, "What do you think about ______" is always a good way to begin a discussion about any particular thing that is important to you. If you can, get your caregiver to sign it and then make 4 copies. One goes to the doctor for his files, and you can request that one be sent to the hospital you’ll give birth at with your chart. If this is done, the hospital will be much more likely to pair you up with a nurse who is natural/hypno-childbirth friendly when you arrive on your birthing day. The other two copies go to the hospital with you when you’re in labor, one to be presented to your L&D nurse or midwife, in case they don’t have it yet, and one to keep in your birth bag.
Mary and John Smith Birth Preferences
Anywhere Memorial Hospital
Dear Doctor Jones and Hospital Staff,
We have chosen you to attend the very special event of our child's birth. We trust in your expertise and in your sensitivity to our individual needs and wishes. Thank you in advance for your support and encouragement during our birth. The following is our "ideal" birthing. We ask that you consider each of our choices and accommodate them when possible.
IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY: In the event that the situation becomes life-threatening for either Mary or our baby, we will, of course, yield to any request for life saving intervention, upon the briefest of consultation. In the strong likelihood that we have the normal birth that we're expecting, we ask that you refrain from any routine interventions or measures that we have not previously agreed upon.
We would like to complete all forms prior to labor; and to stay at home as long as possible. If upon arrival to the hospital Mary is deemed to be in early labor (under 4 cm, with no complicating factors), we will decline admission until a later time when Mary feels to be more progressed.
• Hydration: We ask that Mary hydrate herself with water and juice as desired, and will be happy to accept a Heparin Lock. IV to be implemented only in the event of complicating factors.
• Movement: We ask that Mary be allowed to move about freely, and to assume any position that she finds comfortable.
• Monitoring: It is our desire to decline continuous EFM, but prefer intermittent monitoring when necessary. Internal monitoring , upon our consultation, to be used only in a life-threatening situation.
• Room Environment: We will be performing various techniques of self- hypnosis and for this reason we ask to be allowed to bring soft music, use dimmed lighting, and ask for the staff to kindly use a low voice - avoiding references to "pain", "hurting" or "hard work". These words are disruptive to our hypnosis process, and we thank you for respecting our unique needs.
• Photography: We would like to have the opportunity to record our baby’s birth with still photographs and video camera.
• Birth Support: We, Mary and John, will be supported by our professional labor assistant, _____________. She is a certified Birthing Assistant and has attended many hospital and out of hospital births, including cesarean sections. We will require her continuous presence during our labor and birth. We authorize her to be present during any examinations or procedures.