Even though your due date may seem far away, it’s best to start researching and planning what you want your labor and delivery experience to be like as early as possible.
It’s important to educate yourself now because there are so many different methods of childbirth, and your choice may guide your pregnancy – for example, will you be using a doula or do you want an OB/GYN to deliver at a hospital? No childbirth method is the only way to deliver your baby, but there will definitely be a right way for YOU and your partner.
There are a number of factors to consider when creating a birth plan and it is important to discuss all the options with your healthcare provider.
- Where will you feel most comfortable giving birth? The majority of US births take place in a hospital, but it is becoming more popular for women to deliver at birthing centers or even in their own homes with the appropriate oversight.
- Where does your OB/GYN or midwife deliver? Do you want to use a doula?
- What does insurance cover? If costs for a birthing center or a home birth aren’t covered, make sure you’re comfortable with the expense and payment options for both the location and midwife.
- What is your medical history? Do you have any health problems?
- Do you want pain management, such as an epidural? Birth centers and home births generally do not offer anesthesia.
- Are you interested in a water birth? Many hospitals now offer tubs in their labor & delivery rooms to help with labor or allow for water births, and this is a common option for birth centers and home births.
Beyond where you’ll deliver, you and your partner should also discuss who you would like at the delivery. This is a personal decision and not everyone is comfortable with having extended family or photographers at the delivery. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when creating a birth plan, and that you communicate these boundaries to family and friends well before delivery day.