I totally nerded-out with my birth plans, with lots of bullet points — from the important stuff like hugging my baby, to some of the laboring positions that I wanted to try. Of course, some things went according to plan (I got plenty of glorious skin-to-skin contact with both of my newborn babies) and others did not (they had to break my waters). But, by having a plan, I felt empowered about giving birth and knowing I would be able to bring my babies directly onto my chest as soon as they came out.
That’s why Huggies new Hug Plan, which helps you articulate your preferences for skin-to-skin contact with your baby after he or she is born, is so important. The closeness of skin-to-skin contact benefits you and your baby in many ways, including regulating your baby’s breathing and heart rate, boosting your breast milk supply, and helping you bond. By making sure your doctor knows your wishes – from epidurals to immediate skin-to-skin contact – you’re empowering yourself for a better birth (and post-birth) experience.
Whether you’re working on your own birth plan, or just curious if other moms opted for skin-to-skin and other birth plan essentials, check out these honest (and totally different) stories of how birth (and birth plans) can go.
“I wrote a birth plan that included bullet point preferences in regard to my process of decision making (being given time to discuss decisions privately with my husband), medical care (no episiotomy and no epidural), and baby’s after care (skin to skin contact before being given eye-drops and Vitamin K shot). I understood that labor rarely goes as ‘planned.’ So my biggest issue was how decisions were made. Both deliveries went mostly as preferred.” –Corrina C., Fort Collins, Colorado
“As useless as my birth plan seemed in my first birth, it was invaluable after my baby was born. I had included some of the post birth things that were important to me and I found the hospital nurses really tried to help me achieve those — like immediate skin to skin contact and breastfeeding.” –Amanda W., Cape Town, South Africa
“I had a very minimal birth plan and basically followed it with both of my kids. I just requested that I be minimally monitored, minimally checked for dilation, and be free to move around and labor however I wanted. I also requested that I not be offered drugs – that I would ask if I wanted them. Post-partum, I requested no Hep B shot and no bath, and that I be given time for skin to skin. My wishes were all well respected.” — Liza L., Bay Area, California
“A friend told me that the people she knew who were disappointed with their deliveries were the ones who had a super clear idea of how they wanted it to go and then that didn’t happen. So she was advising to have some outline but to go with the flow. I approached both my deliveries with that in mind… Wanting/hoping for a drug-free birth but, if needed, thank God for life-saving modern medicine. The first time I didn’t know what I was doing but I did have a hippie-dippy first-time mom plan in my hospital bag that never saw the light of day. And the second time I was more open and had no plan. Both times I wanted skin to skin with my baby, and both times I got it.” –Hannah S., South Portland, Maine
“I had four different births, with four different very loosely laid out plans, none of which went according to plan! For my last child I was more in line with going with the flow… I planned for an epidural and it didn’t work and I ended up with natural childbirth. Still, it was great!” –Erika R. Charlottesville, Virginia
“I wrote an in-depth plan, went to natural birth classes, and read hypnobirthing books. I managed 18 excruciating hours without drugs then my body was overtaken with misery and I got that sweet epidural. I pushed for four hours, but the baby was stuck, so I had to have a C-Section. It was the total opposite of my plan. The OR lights were bright and the nurses chattered about Dunkin’ Donuts and the Pats. It wasn’t the dim lighting and soft music I wished for but man I fell in love hard with that baby.” –Jenny D., Duxbury, Massachusetts
“For baby #1 I had a detailed birth plan, but by the time we arrived at the birth center there was no time for it because I was fully dilated. But the important thing in writing the birth plan was that I had researched all my options and my husband was aware of all my wishes. We got the birth we wanted due to that.” –Jenny H., Cardiff, Wales
“I had a birth plan for baby #1 and I had a lot of time to work on it because I went two weeks past my due date with her. So my birth plan changed as soon as I had to go to the hospital to be induced. I had planned on a natural birth, then changed that to just induction, then changed to Pitocin but no epidural then after 20 hours of labor, I tearfully agreed to an epidural in order to avoid a C-Section. The epidural worked like a charm. I relaxed, dilated, and she was born 5 hours later — 25 hours after induction. And she was, and is, amazing. And so am I.” –Cara G., Chicago, Illinois
“My birth plan was more preferences than a ‘plan’ but it was definitely helpful. I wasn’t offered any pain relief that I didn’t want. Every midwife read it when starting their shift, and I felt my choices were respected throughout. All the music, essential oils, and snacks were completely forgotten about however, and my partner survived for 12 hours on a snickers and a packet of crisps from the hospital vending machine.” –Ruth W., Bath, England
“My only birth plan was to get an epidural, and I did, both times. I probably needed a postpartum plan more than I needed a birth plan in hindsight!” –Sarah P., Albuquerque, New Mexico
The truth is, childbirth doesn’t always go according to plan, but be clear on what’s important to you. Having a Hug Plan and knowing that you were able to cuddle with your baby — from the second he or she was born – is something you will never regret, and will look back on for years to come.