Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sample birth plan for a natural hospital birth

Before I had my first baby, I heard of a lady at church who at gone "all natural" for the birth of her babies. I pictured a woman lying in a hospital bed, hooked up to all the regular stuff, thrashing in pain. I think this is probably the way most people picture a "natural" (meaning no pain meds) hospital birth. I had already started reading a bit about natural childbirth and felt that was the direction I wanted to go. Since that time, I have read and studied and read and studied some more about the subject and, of course, given birth a few times! The birth plan I have worked out and feel really happy with is not really just about not having pain meds during birth; it is really about achieving a birth with as little intervention as possible.

An intervention-free birth is very important to me. I did not work hard to bring this sweet baby into the world only to have him whisked away by nurses when he should be cuddling skin to skin with his Mommy. I didn't go through 3 months of pure nausea to be tied down to a hospital bed with wires and monitors and IV's plugged into me . I didn't endure countless nights of insomnia only to be told by nurses to hold my breath and push while they count to 10! Not only are these interventions things that I personally don't like, they have all been proven to be pointless and even harmful to a normal, healthy labor.

The AAP has stated that the mother is the best means of warming a newborn and immediate skin to skin contact helps facilitate bonding and successful breastfeeding and yet the routine in most hospitals involves the baby being whisked away from Mom to a warming table and then not returned to mom until the baby has achieved a desired body temp and is wrapped tightly in blankets. Even though studies have concluded that breath holding and directed pushing can deprive your baby of oxygen, it is still the "norm" in most hospitals today. The same can be said for most routine hospital protocol...it's either just not necessary or it can actually hinder your labor/birth/bonding. This is where a good birth plan (and good birth attendant) comes in.

Below is a sample birth plan to help you achieve a "natural" or non-intervention birth.

Birth Plan for:

I would like to wear my own clothes during labor, birth, and postpartum.

I would like freedom to use the tub and shower as I see fit during labor.

I will not require a routine I.V.

I would like the freedom to move about and labor and birth in any position I feel comfortable. This may include giving birth in a location of the room other than the bed. If the birth does take place on the bed, I do NOT want the bed broken down.

I would like the room to remain dim/naturally lit.

I would like intermittent fetal monitoring with a Doppler, not continuous.

If labor augmentation becomes an issue, i would prefer to use natural methods deemed appropriate by me.

I do not want any extra people in the room while I labor and give birth. The only hospital staff present should be my midwife/doctor, the nurse, and the baby nurse.

I want to be able to push when I am ready to push with no directed pushing (holding breath and counting to ten.)

I would rather tear than have an episiotomy.

I would like my husband and/or myself to "catch' the baby if appropriate.

I want my baby's cord to sop pulsating before my husband or I cut it...a minimum of 5-10 minutes after birth.

I want my baby to be immediately placed on my chest following birth, nurse right away, and remain with me continuously. I want all procedures/baby checks to be done while my baby remains on my chest. I do not want the baby to spend any routine time on warming bed.

In the event of an emergency/unforeseen circumstance I want my husband to remain with the baby at ALL times.

My baby will not receive the eye ointment, vitamin K shot, or hepatitis B shot.

If my baby is a boy, he will not be circumcised.

I would like the freedom to return home within 24 hours after the birth if I so desire.

I would like my family to be able to visit myself and the baby immediately following the baby's birth if I so desire.

Yes, emergencies arise and sometimes plans need to be altered and that is fine...the key is to be as educated and prepared as possible to help prevent those emergencies. If you are interested in achieving a birth with little to no intervention, I recommend not being induced and waiting until you are in active labor before going to the hospital, as well as educating yourself. It is important to be flexible with your expectations, but in the case of a normal, healthy labor there is no reason why all of your desires for you birth can not be met! Hiring a doula (a professional labor assistant) will also greatly benefit you with having the birth you want!

Is a pain medication-free birth the best choice for every woman? No, I think every woman has the right to make that decision for herself...but it is every woman's right to have the safest birth and the birth she desires for herself and her baby...the fewer the interventions used, the more likely she will attain this goal.


  1. I have only had hospital births. The last two were with a midwife though. I never heard 'hold your breathe' and they never took the baby away either. He stayed right on me until they were done fixing me up completely then did his vitals. So he spent a good half hour or so directly in contact with me right after birth. I love my midwife, but I also love that I am right there at the hospital just in case something emergency like happened. That is just me though. Oh, and my midwife allows me to go needle free. I hate IVs.

  2. yep, every woman has the right to her own birth plan. the important thing here, is to know these types of options and be educated, as you said, Heidi. good info.

  3. Great Plan! I'll be thinking of you, you'll do great!