Well I’ve made it! Today is my due date. Somehow this sweet little baby has tarried on and we’ve gotten all the way to 40 weeks together. I’m so thrilled and can’t WAIT to meet him! Come on little boy, make your appearance. Annnnnnny time.
I thought I’d take the opportunity to post before everything goes bananas around here. I want to share my birth plan with you and explain why I’ve chosen to do some of the things I’m doing, in case you were wondering.
Disclaimer: Please don’t read any of this as judgment toward those who have chosen a different path than mine. I know there are many different and valid ways for babies to come into this world. This is just representative of my personal beliefs and desires for myself regarding childbirth.
I’ve chosen to have my baby at a birthing center under the care of amazing Midwives as opposed to at a hospital with a Doctor. Because of this, I really don’t need a birth plan because they automatically honor all of my wishes without me having to ask. All of the things I have listed below are standard operating procedure at the birthing center. But there is always the rare chance that I might need to transfer to a hospital for one reason or another. IF that happens I want to be prepared to let the hospital staff know the kind of birth I’m hoping for.
I’d also like to highly recommend anyone who is considering a birth center or home birth with Midwives to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. It is an amazing resource and very helpful.
-My Birth Plan-
1) Intermittent monitoring only. Freedom to walk around and move as I wish.
The reason for this is because natural childbirth requires the woman’s body to move. The baby needs help moving into the birth canal and it is just not sensible for a woman to do this lying on her back. Squatting, kneeling, swaying, dancing, rocking, are all useful positions to help get baby into optimal position for birthing. I want to be free to try whatever position is helpful, and not be constrained to a hospital bed. As long as baby and I are healthy, I don’t see any reason to be on constant monitoring.
2) Do not offer pain medication.
It is my desire to have an unmedicated birth. I want to do this because I think the female body was designed to give birth and that God gave us natural pain relief hormones and chemicals that work beautifully without intervention. I also don’t see anything wrong with a little discomfort. We, as a society, are so completely against discomfort, inconvenience, or challenge. In my view childbirth is a part of womanhood and I welcome the challenge to experience it as God intended, without intervention. I do however understand that I am human and may feel tempted to give up if I’m offered a way out. I really don’t want to have to deal with that, so I’d rather not have the option given to me.
1) Allow me to to push and birth in position of my choice.
2) Access to drinking water at all times.
Ice chips? Really? I’m sorry but I drink at least a gallon of water a day and there is no way that I am doing the most physically intense thing my body will ever do without being properly hydrated. Would you consider running a marathon, or going to the gym without water? There’s just no chance. Labor is just as (if not more so) physically demanding. Everyone who has seen me in the past 9 months knows that I come with a water bottle every where I go. There will be no negotiating on this in the delivery room.
3) Allow me to eat light snacks as I desire.
Most hospitals will not allow the mother to eat during labor in case she needs to be transferred for an emergency Cesarean. I understand the reasoning behind this, but it is completely unreasonable to expect an otherwise perfectly healthy woman to do the most physically demanding job of her life without proper sustenance. It is no wonder so many moms give up on natural birth because they are exhausted and have no energy. I’m not talking about eating a steak dinner, but I plan to have fruits, nuts, and energy packed snacks to help me keep up my strength for the big show!
4) Allow my placenta to deliver naturally without Pitocin.
Even if you haven’t been induced with Pitocin for birth, many hospitals (and even birthing centers) will use Pitocin to help speed up the process of delivering the placenta. This should be a LAST resort option, only if there is an issue with the placenta not coming out on its own, or the risk of hemorrhage. Most healthy women will naturally deliver the placenta, without intervention, within about 10-30 minutes of birth.
5) Save my placenta for encapsulation.
Placenta encapsulation is when the placenta is dehydrated, ground, and poured into capsules for the mother to take postpartum. This is usually done by a doula or a midwife. I have arranged for a doula to do this for me. The placenta is packed with amazing vitamins and nutrients. Consuming it has been known to help prevent postpartum depression, increase energy, and help with milk supply. Women in many non-western cultures will actually eat their placenta (ew). I’m not hippy enough to fry it up or drink it in a smoothie, but I figure a capsule form can’t be all that bad. And I’ve heard so many women swear by it! Some women describe them as little speed capsules. Extra energy with a new baby and no sleep? Sounds good to me! I will let you know if it helps at all.
6) Please do not perform an episiotomy. I would like to use essential oils to help prevent tearing while birthing.
Many doctors will just automatically cut every woman to allow the baby to come out. This is completely unnecessary. Think of a paper towel. If you pull tight it will stretch, and it might even tear a bit. Think of that same paper towel with a small slit cut into the top. When you pull, it will tear completely in half with little effort. I’d much rather let my body tear naturally if that’s what’s going to happen. In a natural, unmedicated birth, the uterus will contract at a normal speed, to allow for proper stretching. The mother will be able to feel what is going on so she won’t just push arbitrarily. With an epidural the mother cannot tell what she is doing, and might push too hard and tear worse than she needs to. The use of warm cloths and oils during crowning can really help ease the baby out and prevent tearing. Some tearing might still occur, but it will heal much more quickly and naturally without a large cut made that probably wasn’t needed at all.
7) Delay cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating.
Studies have shown that delaying the cutting of the baby’s umbilical cord until it has stopped pulsing has many benefits. The baby is getting his blood supply from the placenta and as long as it is pulsing it is still sending nutrient rich blood to your baby’s system. We want our babies to have a full tank, so to speak, and have good, high iron and blood levels. This only takes about 5-10 minutes, and can be especially helpful for babies born early. The ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) says this, “a longer duration of placental transfusion after birth may be beneficial because this blood is enriched with immunoglobulins and stem cells, which provide the potential for improved organ repair and rebuilding after injury from disorders caused by preterm birth. Although the magnitude of the benefits from enhanced placental stem cell transfusion has not been well studied, the other neonatal benefits have led investigators to consider revising umbilical cord clamping practice guidelines.”
1) As long as baby is healthy I would like baby placed on me directly after birth. Baby will breast feed, so only offer my breast and no artificial nipples.
Breast feeding is one of the single best things you can do for your newborn infant. I understand that many women cannot do this for various reasons, but I wholeheartedly believe that EVERY mother should at least try. Even if its just for a few days. It may not be fun or easy, but it is so very good for your baby. I plan to allow my son to do what is called the “breast crawl.” The breast crawl is when a newborn baby is placed directly on the mom’s tummy and allowed to crawl on their own up to the breast and then latch on. This process is amazingly natural and instinctive for the baby and helps to promote bonding between mom and baby, and a natural latch. You can learn more about it here, and watch an amazing video of a newborn little girl doing the crawl. Its seriously one of the sweetest, most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
2) Do not bathe baby- I plan to bathe baby after I have had time to rub in the vernix.
Vernix is the white, waxy sort of substance on the baby’s skin after he is born. This substance has a ton of amazing benefits and nutrients that should not be washed off. Here is an article that explains more.
3) We are planning to delay circumcision until baby’s first pediatrician visit.
This is because we are declining the vitamin K shot, which you can read about below. Babies bodies need about a week to develop the ability to properly coagulate blood. Because of this, the circumcision will need to be delayed so he does not have any bleeding issues.
We are declining the administration of:
1) vitamin K injection (Only use oral vitamin k)
I could explain this here, or I could refer you to Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist, who is an awesome blogger that already did an awesome job researching and sharing why the vitamin K shot may not be as great as you think!
2) hepatitis b vaccine
This vaccine is to protect infants whose mother’s may have hepatitis B. However many hospitals administer it to every infant regardless of his mother’s test results. This just doesn’t make any sense to me. I do not have hepatitis B, so I really don’t see the point in giving my child a precautionary vaccination that he does not need, and expose him to potentially harmful side effects.
3) erythromycin eye ointment or any other eye salve
That goo that they put in babies eyes isn’t vaseline folks. Erythromycin is an antibiotic eye ointment administered to newborn infants. Its purpose is to protect the baby from any infection that could come from the mother if she has an STD such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. Since I do not have either of these diseases there is absolutely no reason for me to give my baby an unnecessary antibiotic. Hospitals often administer it even if the mother has already tested negative for the STD’s “just in case.” For me personally, I know that “just in case” is not a factor, so I’m declining. When babies are born, their immune system is trying to build itself up, so any unnecessary antibiotics should be avoided so as to not impede the natural processes that are taking place in their bodies. Again, I do not want to expose my baby to medications that he does not need, and potentially cause harmful side effects. It really just doesn’t make any sense.