There’s really only one thing you can bet on when it comes to delivering a baby—unpredictability! Babies tend to arrive on their own schedule, in their own way. But there are lots of choices to be made in the delivery room, and before the action starts, it’s helpful to write down your preferences and hopes in a “birth plan.” (Because hey—even if that all natural water birth doesn’t go as planned, you’ve still got control over the music.)
To get started, create a bulleted list answering these questions:
Who should be in the delivery room?
Pinpoint your main bedside squeeze (be it your partner or doula), the person in charge of pictures and cutting the cord, and which family members can come in—or need to stay out!
What’s the vibe?
Do you want the lights on full blast? Should the nurse shout or whisper encouragement during push time? When should your marathon playlist be cued up? Do you want a mirror on hand to watch your little wiggle out? Let the nurses and doctor know early.
What’s your pain relief plan?
Give your care team a heads up if you’re determined to deliver without the help of any meds (along with any relief tools like birthing balls you need on hand). Want the epidural? Pick out where you’d like to be on the pain scale before it’s administered.
What happens after delivery?
Want to do skin-to-skin first? Try breastfeeding? Get those fresh footprints done? Point out your priorities, along with any procedures you’re not ok with.
Want to skip planning all together and just see where the day takes you? You can count on docs and nurses to guide you the whole way through and make decisions on the fly, too.