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Our Bradley Method Birth Plan

The following post is from Katie of Kitchen Stewardship: Our Bradley Method Birth Plan

bradley birth plan
source: Katie Kimball

“I don’t care if you stand on your head to push as long as baby is doing okay.”

It seemed like every time I saw my new OB-GYN, he reassured me that I could have the birth I wanted (unless there was a medical problem) with this sentence. A few weeks back I threatened that I was really going to do it, just because he kept using the example, and he hasn’t mentioned acrobatics since.

Now he says he doesn’t care if I do voodoo in the corner, which actually has less likelihood of becoming reality than the headstand!

I feel pretty confident that I have a quality OB who won’t push me to do things I don’t want to do in labor and will discuss each issue logically. Nonetheless, I’ll still have a few copies of our Bradley Method birth plan with us for all the nurses (and perhaps the doctor on call if it’s not my own) who won’t know this green, crunchy mother when they see her coming.

We crafted this birth plan during our Bradley Method classes six years ago and have made only minor changes since then for two babies going on three. I remember sharing it with my former OB on the first go-around, and I was on the defensive immediately because I was under the impression that I would have a battle to get what I wanted: a natural birth.

The docs kind of brushed off most of the line items as “old-fashioned procedures that we don’t really do anymore.” I was so glad to hear that! Now my doc reminds me that this has to be a “birth wishes list” rather than a “plan,” since we need to be willing to throw our plan out the window if baby is in danger.

We’re logical enough to do that, but apparently, there are a number of couples who remain on the defensive and simply won’t budge on their plan, no matter what.

Bradley Method Birth Plan

You are welcome to copy and alter this birth plan to fit your needs if you’d like.

[hubs] and Katie Kimball’s BIRTH PLAN

Thank you for your cooperation in helping us have a natural, unmedicated, childbirth insofar as that is safe and viable for mom and baby.

Upon arrival, we request:

  • Externally monitoring the baby as seldom as possible.
  • Please use the wireless monitor if available for freedom of movement.
  • Internal exams done extremely infrequently and only when absolutely necessary by the same person.
  • We’d like to discuss antibiotic use during labor before anything is done and will likely decline, fully understanding the risks.
  • If an IV is needed, please use a hep-lock.
  • Please refrain from injecting anything else through the IV without consulting Katie and [hubs]

If mother and baby are doing well, we prefer to:

  • Avoid artificial induction at all times, including waiting for 12 hours+ if water breaks at the onset of labor, going past the estimated due date, and not breaking the bag of waters.
  • Use natural induction techniques if necessary to induce or speed up labor.
  • Use the lowest dose of Pitocin possible if artificial induction is absolutely necessary.
  • Have an undefined, unhurried time to labor – even if in a latent phase/dilation not increasing.

General labor procedures:

  • Please do not suggest medication.
  • Allow Katie to eat and drink.
  • We would like much freedom to move about, try many positions and use the shower and tub to ease the pain.

During delivery we would prefer:

  • To avoid an episiotomy UNLESS Katie risks a clitoral or urethral tear.
  • Pressure episiotomy w/o medication if necessary.
  • To be free of time limits on pushing, to try many positions.
  • Perineal support with a warm washcloth; naturally slows down pushing to allow the perineum to stretch.

Post-Birth we would like to:

  • Hold the baby immediately after birth on the stomach w/blanket; breastfeed ASAP.
  • Wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsing (mostly) before it is cut if possible.
  • Deliver the placenta unassisted and avoid Pitocin after birth.
  • Postpone newborn procedures until ONE HOUR after birth.
  • We choose to waive the eye ointment.
  • No Hep B vaccine is necessary!
  • Drink orange juice to replace fluids and raise blood sugar, and potassium levels.
  • Have the first bath and all newborn procedures in the room.
  • If impossible, [hubs] should be with the baby at all times
  • We are bringing our own soap for baby’s bath.
  • Have 24-hour rooming-in with the baby.
  • Please avoid all artificial nipples (bottles, pacifiers) at all times.

If a Cesarean Section is needed, I would prefer:

  • Husband present at all times.
  • To be conscious.
  • To have immediate contact with the baby if he is in good health.

Environment — we would like:

  • Bring music.
  • Have the lights dimmed
  • Our own camera is in the delivery room.
  • To have the husband and wife together at all times; no other family/visitors present at birth.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for a template to create your own birth plan, click here to download a copy of Katie’s.

bradley birth plan
source: Katie Kimball

Our goals with this plan are centered around the following wishes:

  • To  be allowed freedom of movement for a comfortable labor (I hate being restricted during labor).
  • To avoid medications.
  • To allow nature to take its course, particularly avoiding induction or anything that might induce labor on accident (internal exams).
  • A safe, healthy baby and mother at the end.

If you’re curious to know more about some of the things we say “no thanks” to, you can read my post on 10 Childbirth Norms Parents Can Refuse over at Simple Organic.

Did you have a “plan” for labor? Were you able to stick to it?

Katie Kimball has been “green” since 5th grade when she read 50 Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. She remains slightly disappointed that she didn’t actually save the whole thing back then, but now that she has 3 kiddos counting on her, she keeps plugging away hopefully. Katie blogs at Kitchen Stewardship about real food and natural living and is the author of Healthy Snacks to Go and other eBooks, available for Kindle.