Birth Notes

Printable Birth Planning Pages

In preparation for my due date (six weeks away) and just in time for my sister-in-law's due date (1 week away), I put together a couple printable birth pages. I didn't do much on this for my other two, and their births went great. But there were smaller things I wished I had remembered, that got lost in the flurry of active labor (i.e., I wanted music both times and completely forgot both times).

A lot of birth plans I found online compiled several pages of information and preferences together (can we say overwhelming and impractical?!) or they had just one short condensed sheet meant for the hospital with nowhere to remind me of the important stuff like push play on my music. So, I put together the following two printable pages...

1. Birth Notes for Relaxation

This is a list of relaxation reminders for the laboring process, giving me and my support peron(s) a toolbox for a happy, healthy labor and delivery. These are also great to use for discomforts throughout pregnancy so that they become a little more natural and automatic by the time labor starts. This list was compiled with ideas from a variety of birthing books that I'll share next week. Music is on the list :)

2. Birth Preferences and Intentions

This is a condensed blank 1-page sheet to fill in my intentions for a happy, healthy delivery. I'm completing it after going over the longer list of terms to read up on and finding out what applies to my caregiver and my birth place. Many birth plans I found online include the full list with checkmarks to put your preferences, but I see those more for personal processing and finding out what is relevant for me. No need to get worked up about shaving and enemas if my hospital doesn't do that, you know? :) This page can be shared with medical staff and my support people, or kept for my own recollection.

Here are a couple pretty thorough lists of what to learn more about:
The Bump -- list of birth options to consider putting on birth plan
Trimester Talk -- questions to consider for what to put on the birth plan

Why Write a "Birth Plan"

In short, a birth plan is more for you than it is for "them." Writing a birth plan, especially an overly detailed plan, can lead to inflexibility and regret if things don't go how you want. But writing a birth plan of sorts (or what I'd rather call Birth Notes or Birth Preferences) is still important and so helpful in the birth process--maybe not for the reasons you'd expect.
  • It can help you know what interventions could come up so you can read up on them and understand them before you're pressed to make a decision. Wait, what are forceps again?
  • It can help you know what to ask your medical professional and/or birthing facility. What routine procedures can you expect? So, will I be hooked up to an IV once I check in?
  • It can help you prepare for birth, or "get your head in the game" so to speak. What positions or breathing should you be doing to relax now so it's more natural in birth? What mantras should you memorize and repeat now so they come to mind when needed later?
  • It can act as a checklist along the process--at what point will you go to the hospital? What ambiance do you want to create when you get there? Who do you want in the room during labor, delivery, bonding time? Who needs to be called or texted and when?
  • It can help your partner or support persons know how to get involved. What words could they use to encourage you, what could they suggest to try, how could they help you through contractions?
  • It can bring to mind your relaxation techniques--reminders for breathing, intentions or mantras, positions to try, jokes or videos to get you laughing and loosening your muscles.
  • It can help you think about how you'll move on if things don't go as planned. Because the unexpected and unplanned is always a possibility. But your baby's birth will still be a labor of love. Be prepared to embrace it as such, no matter what comes up.
These are all things that you might know on some level without writing them down. But the excitement of labor can make even the smaller, no-brainer stuff escape your memory. It's worth having them on hand as a quick recap for you and especially whoever is supporting you.

Next week, I have some of my own thoughts on birth to share with some resources I've loved reading this time around.

Download (free, of course)...

Birth Notes for Relaxation
Birth Preferences and Intentions

Have you written a birth plan? Which reminders were helpful for you and which weren't?


also read:
new? start here...
preparing for birth
all posts: cloth diapers, pregnancy, birth and beyond

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post! I was starting to get overwhelmed about putting a birth plan together but your printable seem much more manageable, stress free and enjoyable :)