Monday, December 13, 2010

Natural Childbirth Birth Plan

We meant to post our birth plan in honor of Dalia's 1st birthday. We didn't quite make it in time, but still want to share it with our readers. This is a fairly typical birth plan for women planning to labor in a birth center or hospital with midwives. There are some doctors out there who would probably be OK with some of these items, but most (if not all) will not agree to this type of plan (especially since most hospitals have procedures, time lines, and other birth policies they must always follow--hello, Business of Being Born, ever see it? It is a MUST)!

How about the you must dilate one cm per hour once you hit active labor or BOOM pitocin (you know the drill, the all-to-familiar cascade of interventions.....)

Having a natural and gentle birth (calm environment, soft music and soft voices, and gentle language and movements) can lead to a more bonded relationship with your child, not to mention it gives you a head start on gentle discipline, if you are interested in that.

So here you all go! And, if you haven't read our very abbreviated birth story, read it here.

Sarah and Steven Horowitz, Birth Plan

Birth Goal

We are attempting to have a natural, unmedicated birth without unnecessary intervention. We understand that emergencies occur and alterations to this plan may be medically necessary, but we would like to discuss alternatives and consequences of any deviation privately.

Hospital Labor Goals

We ask that our Midwife and Doula (Aimee Clark) be present for the labor. We do not want mother and father to be separated at any time during labor or delivery. All other visitors, family, and unnecessary staff should be turned away until we have had time alone with our new baby.

We ask that lights be kept fully dim, noise and voices be kept to a minimum, and the door always be kept closed for privacy. We will bring our own music to aid in natural healing.

We ask that cervical exams be kept to an absolute minimum and that fetal monitoring be intermittent rather than continuous.

We ask that the hospital staff refrain from offering pain medication at all times.

We ask that no routine IV be administered. The mother will drink and eat as she wishes to maintain natural energy.

We ask that the bag of waters not be artificially broken at any time.

We prefer to labor in one of the hospital’s tubs, if available.

Induction (if medically necessary)

We ask that non-chemical induction methods be tried first. (nipple stimulation, sex, etc) If further help is needed, please try a cervical ripening agent (but not cytotec) rather than pitocin. No pitocin.

Delivery Goals

We prefer not to have an episiotomy unless determined to be medically necessary; we would first like to try perineal massage, support and warm compresses.

We ask that the mother be allowed to try different positions (hands and knees, squatting, birth stools, etc.), if labor or delivery seems stalled.

We ask that the mother be allowed to select her pushing position.

We would like to have the baby placed on the mother's chest immediately after the birth.

We would like to try to have the baby breastfeed as soon as possible, even if delivered by a medically necessary Cesarean.

Newborn Care Goals

Do not administer the eye medication. Do not administer the vitamin K shot until we have spent some time with the baby, preferably as long as possible before leaving the labor and delivery room.

Please delay the weighing and measuring of the baby until the first feeding is complete.

Please do not offer any bottles or pacifiers to the baby without parents' notification of a medical need.

Please discuss routine vaccinations with parents before administering them to the baby.

Do not administer the Hep B vaccination.


So that is it. That was our plan and it went exactly as we wanted. Keep in mind my labor stalled for 3 hours at 9.5 cm (yeah, I go to the hospital at 9.5). MDs probably won't let you go that long--even my midwife was a bit up in arms. And in all honesty, I believe it was Dalia saying, "mommy and daddy, I am just not ready to leave this womb yet. I am not prepared to separate so please give me more time." I also believe it was my body telling everyone that it was not ready. I was not ready to become a mommy. It wasn't the right time.

In the end I did end up letting my midwife break my bag of waters. Funny enough Dalia was being born in the bag of waters (apparently a sign of good luck in Asia). At that moment, I caved, but no regrets there.

Birth is not just a physical task. It is mental, emotional, psychological, physiological, and personal. Your whole self has to be ready to have a baby, not just your cervix!


  1. Sarah,
    These posts are always so intersting to me. When I saw the Business of Being Born a few years ago it made me question how I will give birth. I'm not totally sure that I could mentally handle going 100% natural, but reading your birth story and your birth plan is encouraging. Do you have a post anywhere that talks about what you did in terms of pre-natal care? I know some doulas do things differently, so I'd love to hear about your experience.

    And yes, I know I'm not pregnant but I've always been a planner. :)

  2. Great post... Birth Plans are so personal and such a great reflection of your own beliefs and values. I only wish more hospitals and practicioners would follow them. I was lucky to go to a (midwife)practice that encourages you do birth "your" way. Most of the couples that went to my midwives went with narural water birth... I thought it was great & opened my mind. Me personally, I opted for the epidural & ended up with a C-section b/c Julianna was 'stuck' and we both had a 102 fever (not good)... things happen that are out of your control sometimes.

    However, I completely respected all the other pregnant moms we met in our birth class that were going with natural waterbirths and even a couple that was going with home birth. Good for them for doing what they believe in. And good for you for sticking to your guns about what you believed in ... sometimes you have to make last minute changes in the heat of the moment... Nothing wrong with that :)

  3. I totally agree, Skye. Medical interventions should absolutely be taken, when necessary. That is what the birth team is there for. It is up to everyone to make the right decisions. And, having a high fever would def. warrant some extra interventions.

    The most important thing is that YOU made the right decision for you and your baby :) You were in control and that is the key to a successful birth.

  4. We didn't make an "official" birth plan for either of our kids, but I made sure my doctors knew that I wanted as little intervention as possible. I had to be induced with Adrienne but chose to have Cervadil because it was said to be a more natural contraction even if it didn't always work AND so that it could be taken out if need be. It wasn't working after 6 hours so they took it out and told me I could go home once my contractions stopped or calmed down but that was the kick in the butt that Adrienne needed to come out.

    My doctors were great; they did not encourage the induction until I was two weeks over and even then they questioned whether I could be off with my calculations of the due date. My doctor even had me actually deliver Adrienne myself so I was the first to hold her little body.

    With Ellie, my doctor offered to break my water for a me but I declined. It ended up breaking with my first push and when I stayed on my hands and knees on the bed he told me that was a great position for birthing.

    Unfortunately, two weeks after I delivered Ellie, I learned that both of my doctors (a husband/wife team) had been fired. I guess even though their patients loved them, the other doctors did not like working with them. I cried. And I won't have another baby until they get their own office up and running...

    Because I had such a great experience at the hospital with doctors and not midwives, I am absolutely amazed by the stories I hear about people not having the birth they want. Of course, if, when my doctors are back in the game, they aren't allowed to practice at the hospital here, I will reconsider a home birth.

  5. I LOVE THIS POST. I hope you do not mind that us Bensons will probably be copying much of your birth plan almost word for word. Thank you for sharing!!

  6. Copy away. Seriously copy copy away. I know another pregnant mommy who is doing the same. The info is for all to share :)