Step 1: Imagine the Perfect Birth
- Does not have to be realistic at all; it can involve multiple locations, deceased relatives, a TARDIS, or anything else you can think of.
Questions to get you started:
1. If you could labor and deliver your baby anywhere in the world and in any setting, without worrying about safety where would it be? Would you like to be in one place the entire time or multiple places?
2. Answer these questions for each stage of labor in your dream birth; early labor, active labor, pushing, and the first hour of your baby’s life
- Where are you?
- Who is with you?
- What do you hear?
- What do you see?
- What do you smell?
- What do you feel?
- What or who helps you in this place to feel calm?
3. When you are in pain, what types of personal comforts do you like to use?
4. Where do you hold tension in your body, and what helps you let it go?
5. What is your biggest fear about labor and delivery? What helps relieve this fear?
Step 2: Plan the whole birth, not just the medical parts.
- Share this with your partner, maybe have your partner write one too!
- What elements from your imaginary birth are important to include in the actual birth? Consider:
1. Whom to invite
- who makes you feel safe, comforted, and supported? Make sure they don’t make you feel inhibited, criticized, or upset.
- Choose based on your need, not their happiness.
2. Other life changing, important, or family related events
- Was there anything that made you feel resentful or other negative emotions?
- What commonality could cause problems during labor?
- What do you remember most vividly?
- What moment do you treasure most?
- What moment do you regret?
- Whose presence made it extra special?
- When you give others advice about how to plan such an event, what do you tell them?
- How did you handle decision making when something did not go as planned?
- If you could do it again what would you change, what would you keep the same?
3. Think back to times in your life where you handled a mental endurance test, a physical endurance test, and handled an emotional endurance test.
- What activity have you done that took the most out of you?
- What activity did you do that you were most proud of?
- What activity did you do that required the most endurance?
- What are five ways you have found extra oomph?
- Where do your thoughts go when doing something physically painful? What do you think about? What do you say to yourself?
- Does the thought of physical trial and accomplishment scare you? Thrill you? Both?
- What helps you relax most? Describe the most relaxing experience of your life.
- Name 3 activities that make the passing of time seem instant
4. Now write up your plan! Here are some prompts to get you started
- What elements in your environment help you freely express yourself without inhibitions?
- What helps you achieve feelings of peace?
- What allows you to look inward for depths you have never reached before?
- Who should be at your baby’s birth?
- Who has important relationships with you and your new baby? How will you honor these relationships and needs during labor?
- How can you set up the birth room to provide the sights, sounds, and smells that you want to experience?
Step 3: Write up just the medical parts of your birth plan.
- This will be shared with your birthing team, doctors, midwives, nurses, and attendants
- Plan should be succinct and easy to read in a few minutes
- plan should sound polite, respectful, and positive
- use positive statements rather than negative (I want instead of I don’t want)
- add anything unique to your situation
- What is the essential message you’d like to communicate to your team? Can you compress the whole thing into just a couple of sentences that explains your birthing philosophy?
1. Areas you may want to cover
- Beginning labor: want to do it naturally? What if you’re past your due date? What about if your water breaks before contractions begin?
- Labor: Do you want pain medication? Do you want to delay pain medication? How do you want to take care of the pain?
- Second state of labor: are you okay with an episiotomy?
- If you need a cesarean section: Do you want to be conscious? Do you want your partner there?
- After birth: Do you want to hold your baby immediately? do you want to delay cord clamping? Do you want to feed? Do you want to roomshare?
- Finalize your plan between months 5-8 to share with your doctor.