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    In birth, we would prefer…

    Our birth-prep course instructor and OB have encouraged us to create a list of “birth preferences”. For those unfamiliar to the term, this document is a wish list of the types of things you would like to have happen during/after labor. It’s “preferences” over “plan” because although most births are pretty uneventful, you can’t predict exactly how they’ll go, so sticking to a plan might not be reasonable if you could be endangering either the baby or the mom.

    I wanted ours to be very short and note the things that were important to me. Although there are lots of other things I’d like, they’re on my “nice to have” list or I don’t have that much of a preference one way or another. I’m hoping that with it being short, it would be easier for the nurses caring for us to actually read it all the way through.

    What was interesting (and a little unexpected on my part) was the discussion that this piece of paper sparked between S and I. Although we’re on the same page, the language in my initial draft brought out his “contract reading eyes” where he was reviewing how each phrase could be interpreted. I hadn’t seen him get this emotional in awhile, so this was a serious talk we needed to have. I did my best to let him talk, and try to reiterate his point of view to make sure I understood him correctly, before I proceeded to tell him my thinking. Go “Marriage Prep 101”! Those two days in seminar do pay off! At the end of it all, this list is what we both want in addition to understanding the “unstated” limits of each item.

    So here goes. S & A’s birth preferences… (although it is written in the first person)

    Thank you very much for attending to our family over the next few days! I look forward to sharing this experience with you!

    Although I realize that my birthing journey can have many unexpected turns, I would like to share my birthing preferences with you. Ultimately my goal is to deliver our child safely, but it is my hope that you will assist me in having an unmedicated, natural childbirth experience as close to my requests below as possible.


    • I would prefer that epidural (or other pain relief) medication is NOT offered to me, although I would like that it be available should I request it.
    • Unless my child displays fetal distress, please do not administer induction medication (such as Pitocin) or strip my amniotic membranes. I would prefer that non-chemical methods be tried first.


    • I would like to be given the opportunity to walk and move around throughout labor. If an IV is necessary, please allow me the opportunity to move it with me.
    • If a squat bar is available, please allow me to use it.


    • Unless required by the condition of our child, I do not wish to have continuous fetal monitoring.

    After Birth:

    • I would like my child to be placed on my body and allowed to nurse before his cord is cut.
    • Please ask my husband if he would like to cut the cord himself.
    • If a program is available, I would prefer to donate the umbilical cord blood.
    • Our son will not be circumcised.
    • Our child may NOT be given the Hep B vaccine.
    • You may administer other procedures such as the Vitamin-K shot, eye prophylaxis and APGAR tests. If allowed, I would like my husband to be present during these procedures.
    • I would like to meet with a lactation consultant as soon as they are available.

    Thank you for your time and care!

    Our OB has since reviewed the plan and found everything to be “very reasonable” — her words. She put it in my chart and will have it sent over to the hospital. Of course we’ll be making half a dozen of our own copies to hand out too.

    One response to “In birth, we would prefer…”

    1. Patty says:

      Wow. I have never read one of these before, so this was really interesting. Thank you so much for sharing! I had no idea that these pieces of paper even existed, I guess I always assumed things happened based on what you said, so it’s awesome that you have it all written out in case you just can’t think to say all of that. Truly, thank you for sharing.

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