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Leading up to labor and delivery, women are encouraged to think through their preferences, desires, and hopes for their birth experience.
However, to ensure the best birth experience, women should focus on a balance between planning ahead of time and understanding that successful labor and delivery require flexibility.
Ditch the word “plan”
“A birth plan should be viewed as a conversation tool between the provider, care team, and the patient, with the ultimate goal of a healthy mom and baby,” Michelle Beebe, perinatal services manager.
Viewing a birth plan as a conversation piece can help the laboring woman’s mindset. Providers always aim to follow a woman’s birth preferences. Still, labor can involve situations that can’t be predicted, and having a healthy baby takes priority.
Thinking through preferences can help the experience go more smoothly.
Is mobility during labor important to you? At Kettering Health, labor and delivery suites have labor tubs available for women who want to use them. However, women who want or need epidurals may be unable to get up and walk around the room during labor.
Pain relief options
Nonmedical pain relief options could include breathing strategies, relaxation, visualization, or massage. Medical options could include epidural anesthesia or analgesics.
Main Campus and Soin medical centers offer nitrous oxide to women in labor. Nitrous oxide is a mixture of nitrous gas and oxygen that can be self-administered through a mask by breathing in with the contraction and stopping when the contraction is over.
Thinking through baby care after delivery involves important details. What do you want to do with the umbilical cord? If you have a boy, do you want him circumcised? Do you have preferences regarding breastfeeding, pacifiers, bottles, or formula?
Adaptability is key
In childbirth education classes offered through Kettering Health, women learn about birth options and are empowered to talk to their providers about what they want in a birth plan.
Michelle stresses that women should consider starting childbirth classes in their second trimester when they tend to have more energy and have plenty of provider visits left to ask questions.
Women who communicate openly with their providers have more positive outcomes and better experiences. “The biggest key to having a great labor experience is flexibility,” says Michelle. “Both on the part of the care team and the mom.”
We have resources available to help you prepare for your growing family.Learn More About Kettering Health's Childbirth Education
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