ST. LOUIS – A birth plan is a way to communicate what expecting mothers desire during labor and after the birth of a baby. Every delivery is unique but creating a birthing plan empowers mothers to become informed of their options during labor.
SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is making it easy to help expecting moms learn what decisions they can make in preparation for labor. The birthing plan is intended as a communication tool between the mother and their birthing team, as well as the nurses and family members who will help care for her after the baby is born.
Carolyn Mank, a SLUCare Certified Nurse Midwife at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital, says there is a lot to learn about labor during pregnancy. At times it can feel overwhelming, but the birthing plan is a document that expecting moms can fill out to assist them in what decisions they can make ahead of labor.
Some of the details include defining comfort measures like walking or squatting or using a birthing ball. Moms may want to labor in water using a shower or tub, or listen to music or bring in aromatherapy during labor. Other details define how mom wants to manage any pain. If she wants to labor and give birth with little to no intervention or have an epidural. What her pushing preferences are; lying on her side or sitting upright in bed. Whether or not mom wants to have her partner cut the umbilical cord. These decisions and discussion points help ease the decisions before mom enters the hospital to deliver.
But a birthing plan also helps mothers determine how to take care of the baby postpartum, such as skin-to-skin contact, keeping the baby in the room, how the mother plans to feed such as breastfeeding, pumping to bottle, or formula feeding. And if the mom wants the baby to have a pacifier.
The birthing plan also gives mothers a comprehensive list of items to bring to the hospital when baby is ready to be born including items easily forgotten like phone chargers, breastfeeding pillow, and contact cases or solutions.
Download a SSM Health birthing plan here. It is located on the right side of the page.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs Wednesdays on News 11 at 7 p.m. and FOX 2 News at 9 p.m.