During your prenatal visits, talk with your doctor or midwife about what you would like to happen during your labor. Consider writing up your labor and delivery preferences in a birthing plan, either in a childbirth education class or on your own. You can find examples of birthing plans on parenting websites.
Because no labor or delivery can be fully anticipated or planned in advance, be flexible. Your experience after labor begins may be totally different from what you expected. If an emergency or an urgent situation arises, your plans may be changed for your own or your baby's safety.
When making plans for your baby's birth, consider the location of your delivery, who will deliver your baby, and whether you want continuous labor support from a doula, a friend, or family members. If you haven't already, this is also a good time to decide whether you'll attend a childbirth education class, starting in your sixth or seventh month of pregnancy.
Learn about labor and delivery ahead of time. Think through your preferences for comfort measures, pain relief, medical procedures, and fetal monitoring. And think through how you want to handle your first hours with your newborn. To learn more, see the topic Labor and Delivery.
Planning to breast-feed
Plan ahead for breast-feeding by learning about breast-feeding and finding a good lactation consultant ahead of time and buying necessary supplies. To learn more, see the topic Breast-Feeding.
- Breast-Feeding: Planning Ahead
Cord blood banking
Sometime during your pregnancy, you may get information about cord blood banking. Cord blood is the blood left in the umbilical cord after birth. Think about whether you want to bank your baby's umbilical cord blood for possible future use.
- Pregnancy: Should I Bank My Baby's Umbilical Cord Blood?