Whether you’re delivering your baby at the hospital, birthing center, or at home, planning ahead can reduce stress and help to make the new arrival go as smoothly as possible. Hospital deliveries come with some special considerations and here are a few tips to avoid problems when the time comes.
1. Talk with your doctor or practitioner early. Be sure to review your birth plan with your practitioner early in your pregnancy in case you need to change practitioners. Make sure they are comfortable with things like not vaccinating, no vitamin K injection, delayed cord clamping, etc. Finding this out early will help if you need to find another practitioner as many will not take you on as a new patient if it’s late In your pregnancy. Be respectful, but ask your practitioner directly if they are comfortable with all items on your birth plan. Let them know you will not want to encounter difficulties on delivery day. It’s important that you work as a team.
2. Select a setting that meets your needs. If you’re in a high risk group, you may have limited choices. If you plan to deliver at home, be sure to find out where you would be taken if you needed assistance from a hospital. The best way to find out which hospital you would be taken to in an emergency is to call your closest firehouse/EMS. Be sure you contact that hospital and talk with the nurse manager to let them know you will be delivering at home and want to find out information about being brought to that hospital if needed. Touch base with them again when it is closer to your due date.
3. Keep your birth plan simple, one page if possible. Be sure the most important items are listed in bold letters across the top. The doctor or nurse should be able to quickly identify your non-negotiable items immediately. Contact information and emergency phone numbers should be included as well. Email a copy to the nurse manager ahead of time to be sure there are no problems honoring all your requests. Email copies to your emergency contact list so they are aware of your plan and provide extra copies to your partner for day of delivery. Don’t assume this will “be on my chart”. Keep a copy in your room and post it on the wall if necessary. Be sure all staff is aware you have a birth plan and that they have reviewed it.