Basic crunchy birth plan: Have baby.
BOOM. Done. Right?
Is it inherently a little crunchy to have a birth plan at all? You don't need need one, but many parents-to-be find the process of creating a plan incredibly helpful to discuss options and preferences for labor and delivery of their baby.
Some general birth plan tips:
- Keep it to one page. It's more likely to be read.
- Take it to your prenatal appointment so your desires can be put on file in case your practitioner cannot attend your birth.
- Consider a visual plan if that resonates with you.
Natural Birth Plan Versus Unmedicated Birth Plan
All birth is natural. I have had 3 unmedicated births, and that does not make me or my kids "better" than anyone else, it just means that the circumstances were such that I didn't need to be induced, and my babies were able to come out vaginally. That's not always the case, and it's not always under our control.
So even if you PLAN to have an unmedicated birth, it's good to discuss when you might change plans, and why. Birth is unpredictable! We can only plan for so much. If you prefer, call it your "birth preference guide."
What Makes It a Crunchy Birth Plan?
In my experience, some elements you may be considering that add to the crunchy factor could be:
- having a birth doula (and you should!)
- preferring an unmedicated birth if possible
- wanting to move around freely during labor
- not wanting to give birth laying on your back
- requesting dim lighting and your own music
- using essential oils during labor
- declining cervical checks
- declining prophylactic pitocin after birth
- declining antibiotic eye ointment for baby
If you're not sure about these, I have a few of my favorite books for pregnancy and childbirth for you.
Birth Plan Examples from Real Moms I Know
It's helpful to see all your options, but here are some sample birth plans from friends of mine to give you an idea of what one might look like "in the wild."
There's no "right" way to do this. The most important part is that you feel informed. During labor is not a good time to get more information and make decisions because you are not in a state to focus. Creating a birth plan helps you sort through information before you need to use it.
Unmedicated "Natural" Vaginal Birth Plan Example
CLICK HERE to read a birth plan aimed at an unmedicated vaginal birth. It includes contingencies for Cesarean birth or if the baby is sick, too.
Birth Plan for Sexual Assault Survivor
CLICK HERE to read a birth plan for a sexual assault survivor. This is a great example of why a birth plan can be so important and empowering.
This mom also chose to have a doula to support her and who aligned with her values.
Gentle Cesarean Birth Plan (or "Family Centered")
CLICK HERE for a birth plan for a scheduled Cesarean birth. Her baby was breech, but a belly birth doesn't mean you can't have a say in your birth experience.
Also having a breech baby doesn't necessarily require a c-section. There may be a doctor in your area who is trained in vaginal breech deliveries and may be an option.
Earth Mama Angel Baby also has a free birth plan checklist.
Or maybe Jeff and Jamie's birth plan is more your style. Sense of humor required. 😉
My oldest was born in the hospital and we did have a birth plan. My second birth at home was more along the lines of "have baby." You can read about my birth story here!
Other ways to prepare for parenthood
Now that you have some birth plan ideas, what else do you need to talk about? Discussing your expectations of birth is a start, but that's just the beginning. CLICK HERE to download your free workbook of parenting prompts to discuss during pregnancy.