Published on August 23, 2022

Five factors to consider for your birth plan

Mom with newborn baby

You may have thought about your birth plan shortly after you discovered you were pregnant or maybe your plan is to simply have “no plan” and that’s okay too. A birth plan can be a useful tool to help inform your provider and the Birthing Center team of your preferences for labor and delivery. It can be very detailed and specific, or it can be open-ended.

Shelby Erickson, MSN, RNC, nurse manager at Ridgeview’s Birthing Center shares, “Some women feel strongly about developing a birth plan and some do not view it as essential. Either way, our nurses are equipped to walk you through the process and help you with each expected (and sometimes unexpected) turn of events during labor and delivery.”

Here are five factors to consider while preparing for your childbirth experience.

  1. Environment. When you think about your baby’s birth, what do you picture? Dim lights? Soft music? Scents from essential oils filling the room? You also want to consider who you want present. Many women choose to only have their partner there to support them, while others include another family member or hire a doula for additional support. In the event of a cesarean birth, you will be limited to one support person in the operating room.

  2. Pain relief. There are multiple options for pain relief. Some women labor without, some request pain medication immediately and many women fall somewhere in between. Ridgeview offers choices for pain relief—including epidural, IV pain medicine, hydrotherapy (laboring in the shower or bathtub) and nitrous oxide.

  3. Labor preferences. Every woman labors differently—some prefer to walk or stand as much as possible, while others prefer to rest in bed. Ridgeview’s Birthing Center has various amenities to aid in your labor, ranging from birthing stools and squatting bars to in-room full-size bathtubs.

  4. Cutting the cord. Cutting the baby’s umbilical cord can be very symbolic, but it’s not for everyone. Consider if you or your partner wish to do so. It is becoming more common for providers to wait 30 to 60 seconds before clamping the umbilical cord to allow more blood to transfer from the placenta to the infant, which has numerous health benefits including a decreased risk of iron deficiency anemia.

  5. Newborn care. Consider how you plan to feed your baby once he or she is born—breast, bottle or both—and whether you want your baby to use a pacifier. Additional health considerations such as immunizations and circumcision for males are important decisions you should consider in advance.

Plan or no plan, it’s important to keep an open and relaxed mind when preparing for the birth of your child. “Things can change quickly during labor and delivery, and having mom feel comfortable with her provider and her team of caregivers helps when the unexpected occurs,” Erickson explains.

Download Ridgeview’s birth plan checklist as a guide to help you develop your personal birth plan. If you have any questions or concerns regarding labor or delivery, discuss them with your provider or send us an email, and our Birthing Center team will follow up with you.

Take a virtual tour to see why Ridgeview’s Birthing Center is preferred throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.