What are Birth Intentions you might ask?
It’s your vision of how you would like to welcome your baby into the world. (Some people also call this a birth plan). By taking time to build the community around yourself and your baby on his/her 1st day of life, you can enter the experience of motherhood with a vision of things going well from the start!
Here is a brief list of some of the parts you might include in your Birth Intentions/ Birth Plan. Feel free to research “birth plan” and “birth intentions” online or talk to other moms for many other examples of things you might include. You will find a variety of popular notes that a plan would usually include, but your plan can be as unique as you, addressing as little or as much as you think needs to be widely shared. Some of the common areas that many mothers/ mothers to be consider addressing in this document would include:
A. Who will be there to support you? For example, your partner, mom, best friend, or doula (trained person who is there to help give you support during labor, birth, and after the birth, if you need it) are common choices.
B. Who might want to be in the room but should best stay in the family waiting area until the baby is born? It might be that your partner or mother in law is not the best person to support you during the birth. If that is the case, the hospital staff are experts at helping to protect your space and keep it peaceful. You can talk to them in advance about who is welcome in your space during the birth and afterwards.
C. How can your midwife or doctor support your family to support you? In those meetings before you give birth, you want to talk about what will make things go well for you! Some of the common things one might do to make your space more comfortable would include: Bringing your own music to play as you labor or bringing pictures of quotes or people for your room help you to feel more at home. When you tour your hospital a few months before the birth, this is a good time to find out what they allow and get ideas of how to ease your nerves prior to the birth.
D. Notes/ requests for the hospital during your labor might include:
I prefer the use of the shower and to be immersed in water for as long as that helps with the pain.
I am requesting intermittent monitoring (instead of being hooked up which means you cannot get out of bed) so that I can labor in any position that seems helpful.
E. Notes/ requests for after the baby is born. Some of my requests included: Please delay cord clamping until the cord has stopped pulsating.
F. Newborn Care Requests: Examples include: I request that our baby receive nothing other than my breast milk by mouth without my specific permission (i.e. no formula, sugar solution, etc.) Offering the baby these other solutions has the capacity to interfere with their natural hunger and desire to focus on getting your colostrum or breast milk.
G. Unexpected Contingencies include: In the event that complications arise making a cesarean surgery necessary, I would like my sister to remain with me at all times including during any pre-op procedures/spinal insertion. I would also like to maintain at least one free arm to touch or hold our baby after delivery.
Once you create your plan, review it with your doctor/ midwife, and bring several copies to share with the people who will support you on the big day! A page of information is usually more than enough to capture the attention of your providers without being so long that they forget what is most important.
Waetie Sanaa Cooper Burnette has always been passionate about her faith, educational access, children’s rights, and community building. You can read more about her and her journey to embrace her call as a child and educational advocate here.