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Your birth plan worksheet: The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

10 questions to consider when writing your birth plan

birth_plan_worksheet

As you know from reading The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey, I am not a huge fan of the term birth plan. Plans do not always... well, go to plan, and the last thing on earth that I want for you is to feel like somehow you failed your birth.

Spoiler alert: That is impossible.

I am a huge fan of you feeling empowered and actively involved in the decision of your birth. That's why I think it's a great ides to develop a birth plan, or your birth preferences, ahead of time.

As promised in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, here is a birth plan worksheet that you can fill out and present to your team. Use the questions below to guide you as you complete the worksheet (and chapter 25 of the book for a more detailed explanation of each item). And try to make it relaxing and fun. Make yourself a cup of Crystal Karge's delicious ginger tea (page 119), sit back, and daydream about how you'd love your birth to be.

Download your birth plan worksheet here:

Motherly_Guide_Birth_Plan_Worksheet.pdf

10 questions to consider when writing your birth plan:

1. Where would you like to give birth? Would you prefer a doctor or a midwife?

Your place of birth and who catches your baby can play a significant role in what your birth—and prenatal care—will be like, so spend some time considering what you think you might want.

Check out this guide to help you decide where to labor!

2. Who will attend your birth?

Besides your medical team, who would you like to be with you during your birth? Consider the people that bring good energy with them, are good at supporting you, and well, don't stress you out. Remember, you don't owe it to anyone to invite them to your birth. You are the boss!

People to consider inviting: your partner, friends, family members, a doula.

Are you thinking about working with a doula? Read why more mamas are working with doulas.

And visit page 183 in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama for a reminder on how to make the "who should I invite to my birth" decision.

3. How do you feel about pain medication such as epidurals + opioids?

Perhaps you know that you want an epidural, or maybe you are sure that you do not. Or maybe, like many mamas-to-be, you are undecided. It is important to include your thoughts about pain medication in your birth plan so that your team can best support you. (Return to chapter 22 for an in-depth look at all of your options).

Another factor to consider is: Would you like people to offer them to you, or do you prefer to initiate the conversation if desired?

For example, if you are planning to have an unmedicated birth, would it be irritating if people were to ask you if you want an epidural every hour? Or, would you find it comforting to be reminded that it's an option?

Consider what works best for you, and then tell your team so they can act accordingly.

4. What coping skills do you want to use?

In chapter 22 of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, we discussed coping skills at length. Which ones sounded the most appealing to you?

Remember, try to practice as many of them as you can, because you may be surprised to find that the coping skill you were initially annoyed by becomes your favorite one to use when you are in labor.

5. Are there any interventions you have strong feelings about?

Review the intervention in chapter 23 of The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, and pay attention to how your body feels as you read through them. Are there any that concern you more than others? Write them down in this space—then share your concerns with your doctor or midwife (as soon as possible). They may have some great info to relieve your worries.

6. Given that the situation allows, would you like the following for your baby?

As you consider each item, feel free to click on the link to learn more about it. Then, discuss with your partner, a trusted friend and your healthcare team to make the decision that feels best for you and your family.

You can also revisit page 326 which will point you to the page in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama where each of these is discussed at length.

7. Do you have plans for your placenta?

More and more women are choosing to use their placentas after they give birth to them. It's important to convey this to your team ahead of time to prevent them from accidentally throwing it out.

Some placenta traditions to consider are:

8. Do you have specific requests for your birth?

What might make your birth feel incredibly special to you? Here are a few examples to consider:

  • Using a mirror to watch yourself push
  • Touching your baby's head as they emerge
  • Gentle Cesarean section
  • Helping to catch the baby
  • Having your partner/family member help to catch the baby
  • Partner cutting the umbilical cord

9. Are there cultural considerations the team should know about?

Healthcare workers sometimes forget to ask about the presence of cultural needs during the important life event of birth—so don't be shy if you have a need. Some aspects to consider:

  • Do you observe the Sabbath, and will it impact your needs during your hospital or birth center stay?
  • Do you prefer female caregivers when possible?
  • Will you and your family need time and space to pray?

10. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the team?

Sometimes birth can bring challenging life situations to the surface in a way that can be upsetting or difficult to deal with.

Consider if you'd like to share any of this with your team ahead of time so that they can e as respectful and aware as possible during your birth.

Some examples may include:

  • Are you a survivor of violence?
  • Are there unique family dynamics or relationships that may come up over the course of your labor?
  • What pronoun would you like the team to use for you?

Here are some of our favorite products for taking your birth plan to the next level:

​'The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama​'

motherly guide to becoming mama

This is the pregnancy and birth book we wished we had when we first became mothers. We'll take you from trying to conceive, all the way to the fourth trimester—The Motherly Guide has all the loving guidance you need to have your best journey.

$20

Pre-packed birth bag

pre packed birth bag

Packing your birth bag has never been easier—Belly & Bag has done all the work for you! This gorgeous bag has everything you need.

$225

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

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They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

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From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

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Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

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Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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