The Hospital “Birth Plan” - Before You’re Admitted

Author // Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE

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The Hospital “Birth Plan”
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Before You’re Admitted
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Before You’re Admitted

Choose your doctor carefully. Don’t dismiss feelings of doubt and uneasiness. A key point is to select a provider whose words and actions match. For example, if you are told episiotomies are only done “when necessary,” then make sure you ask specifically for their statistics to ensure you are dealing with facts and not rhetoric. If you don’t want surgery, don’t hire a surgeon. Find a midwife or family physician who attends births and is skilled at delivering babies, rather than an OB with a high cesarean rate who is skilled at surgery.

If there are multiple hospitals in your area, choose the one with the lowest cesarean rate rather than the one with the nicest birthing rooms or most decadent postpartum meal. Hospitals—even those in the same town—can vary widely on their policies. Practice clear and assertive communication with your doctor and reinforce your preferences often. You deserve quality care that is based on your unique needs and wishes.

Do not choose your birth options based on insurance coverage, but rather on the location where your needs will be met most effectively. We take out loans for cars, houses and other material objects—recognize that your investment in supportive care providers for a birth of your choice is much more important, as it will affect your child’s well-being for the rest of his or her life.

Discuss in advance the type of nursing care you would like and request that your doctor put any modifications to the normal routines in your chart as “doctor’s orders.” If your doctor is unwilling to do this, consider it a potential red flag.

Read empowering books, watch natural birthing DVDs and connect with women who have had natural births. This will instill confidence and trust in your body, your baby and your innate birth wisdom. Use affirmations to help cultivate a positive, joyful, welcoming attitude.

Suggest that your partner read a book like The Birth Partner or Fathers at Birth.

Practice prenatal yoga, such as on the Lamaze Yoga for Your Pregnancy DVD.

Learn relaxation techniques. A calm mind and deep breath cannot be taken away from you, no matter what happens. The book Birthing From Within contains several breath-awareness strategies.

During pregnancy, ask questions and research any medical procedure that is recommended to you, such as a non-stress test, a regular sonogram or a gestational diabetes test. A good place to start is at Childbirth Connection (, where they have the full text of the book, A Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, available for free download. It contains a summary of all the research behind common forms of care during pregnancy, labor and birth, and whether the evidence supports those procedures.

Ask for the blanket consent form in advance and decide whether to sign it, or modify and initial it as needed. Ensure you are truly giving your voluntary informed consent rather than signing away your rights in advance of your birth.

Consider the ways you might be sabotaging yourself. If your greatest fear is having a cesarean, then don’t choose a doctor with a cesarean rate higher than the 10 to 15 percent range recommended by the World Health Organization. If you are giving yourself an excuse like, “I can’t switch doctors this late in my pregnancy,” know that you can switch—no matter how far along you are. A great book to help you explore these kinds of questions is Mother’s Intention: How Belief Shapes Birth, by Kim Wildner.

Believe you can achieve the birth of your dreams, so that you and your baby can enjoy a beautiful, empowering and positive birth!

Molly Remer

About the Author:

Molly Remer, MSW, ICCE, is a certified birth educator, writer and activist. She is a La Leche League leader and the editor of the Friends of Missouri Midwives newsletter. She has two wonderful sons, Lann, 6, and Zander, 3, and lives in a straw bale house in central Missouri. She blogs about birth at and midwifery at

Pathways Issue 24 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #24.

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