Whether you’re a first time mom or not, the thought of giving birth can make any mom anxious. Labor is no cake walk, and there is a lot to consider. What will you do to manage any pain, and how will your little one make his or her grand entrance? Who will be with you while you labor and when the delivery comes? Creating a birth plan with your doctor that details how you want to deliver your baby is a great way to help you feel more in control and relaxed when the big day arrives.
Here are some things to consider including in your birth plan:
1. Epidural: Yes or no? An epidural provides pain relief from the waist down, making labor and delivery more comfortable for many women. Why opt out? There are risks and side effects for you and your baby associated with epidurals, and the recovery time from labor and delivery for you may be shorter without one.
2. What visitors, if any, do you want during the beginning stages of labor? Nurses and labor coaches alike agree that keeping a laboring mom relaxed can ease labor pains and speed up delivery. Does the mere sight of your Aunt Matilda send you into a tail spin? Consider creating a detailed list with your partner of approved guests for the big day. Let those who aren’t on the list know when they can come see baby to alleviate any hurt feelings.
4. Who will be with you in the delivery room? Most hospitals let you have two people with you in the delivery room. Knowing you have a strong team can ease fear and anxiety.
5. How will baby be welcomed into the world? According to the International Breastfeeding Center, studies show that skin to skin contact immediately after birth helps to regulate baby’s heartbeat, temperature and breathing, and can improve breastfeeding success rates. Asking your doctor, midwife or delivery nurse to let you have some skin-t0-skin time is a great way to start that bonding right away.
With many of the big decisions set and ready to go you can focus on the most important task at hand: welcoming your precious little one into the world!