Ramping up to Birth Article

Planning a Birth

The great thing about births today is that there are many choices of settings, pain relief, personnel, etc. You can basically plan a birth like you plan a wedding. The downside is that while most weddings go off according to plan, births tend to take on a life of their own.

As a result, managing yours and especially your mate's expectations regarding the birth has become an important factor (e.g., even with an epidural, she may experience significant pain).

The Birth Plan
With so many options, determining and communicating her wishes (even more than a wedding, the birth is her show) requires that they be written down. This is called a birth plan, and it should accompany you into the hospital to be used as a reference for attending medical personnel.

The birth plan can address any issue that you want to be clear on with those involved in the birth, including whether she wants to have an epidural, who you plan to have attend during the birth, your wishes on a C-section, etc. Childbirth education classes will provide a great deal more information on birth choices and planning.

Remember the birth plan is a "plan", and be prepared to deviate from it. Your wife may develop a different view on abstaining from anepidural as the labor progresses. Most doctors or midwives will adhere to a birth plan, but under certain medical conditions they may make the call to deviate where they see fit.

A plan is crucial, though, especially so you can be clear about your partner's and your own desires. It will be up to you to advocate for choices once it's time for the birth.

For a sample birth plan, and to fill one out online, visit www.birthplan.com.

Define Your Choices
You have some options for participation as well, and the birth plan provides an opportunity to think them through:

  • Do you want to cut the umbilical cord?
  • Are there other ways you would like to participate in the birth?
  • How soon after the birth do you want to hold your baby?
  • Would you like the doctor to hand you the baby so you can give her to mom?
  • If your baby needs to be taken anywhere, do you want to go with him?

Who Do You Want in the Birth Room?
The birth plan should incorporate guidelines you and mom set on the role of friends and relatives at the hospital. This is a special time for mom and dad to share, particularly with a first child, and the medical personnel provide all the necessary assistance.

Stick with the guidelines and do not let anyone intrude. The nurses will be very helpful in this regard, as long as you ask them for their support.

It may seem like fun to have relatives or friends there to take pictures and video, but think carefully. It's difficult to ask people to leave once they are there. Birthing can be a messy, arduous, frightening process.

A woman is exposed and not in control. If you both desire to document the great event, it might be wise to assign the task to a trusted and sensitive friend or relative and let all the others meet the baby after he's safely in his mother's arms.

Talk It Over with Mom
An important aspect of a birth plan is that it requires you to discuss with your partner the major issues of the upcoming event. Communication between you and your mate is so important that anything that puts you in a situation where you have to talk is a good thing. This catalyst for communication cannot be over emphasized, and you should take full advantage.

The ride to and from childbirth classes also provides a great opportunity to talk with your wife about the issues raised, her feelings and concerns about the birth and a new baby, as well as your feelings. The classes will focus your attention on the realities of your baby's birth, and the more you talk them through, the more confident and prepared you both will be.


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