Birth Preferences (1st draft!)

I loved Oak’s birth preferences letter here, so I’m going to be stealing much of it, some of it word for word. Thanks! 🙂 I’m not at the point of being ready to write that letter in a cohesive manner, so in the meantime, here are the basic points that I’m trying to organize in my mind so that I can go over questions with my midwife at my next appointment this Thursday. Feel free to let me know in the comments about things you think would be important to add!

Just FYI, this will be a hospital birth, but that birth will be attended by my midwife – not an OB – unless an emergency c-section is necessary.
During Labor
-I do not want any meds offered to me or pain scale questions asked of me. If any medical interventions become necessary, I want to be fully consulted first. 
-The birth will be a hypnobabies birth – please keep lights and voice low. Minimal coached pushing.

(Hypnobabies is a very successful 6 week complete childbirth education course using Gerald Kein’s Painless Childbirth techniques instead of simple relaxation, breathing or guided imagery. This allows our Hypno-Moms to enjoy “Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis,” easily remaining deeply in hypnosis while walking, talking changing positions; being as mobile as they would like to be during childbirth. We are famous for much shorter, easier and more comfortable labors, making childbirth the joyful experience it was meant to be.)

-I would like to be assigned a nurse that is partial to natural birthing (which thus far we are feeling pretty positive about, since the two nurses we know so far are both big natural birth proponents).
-I want to be able to walk, move, or change positions as desired during labor.
-Can I eat/drink during labor? If not, why not?

Post Birth

-No cord traction for placenta removal / No Pitocin after delivery unless necessary
-Delay cord clamping until pulsation has ceased
-Immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, please delay any cleaning or rubbing.
-No Vitamin K shot (look into oral options?)… or is this necessary for blood clotting reasons if it’s a boy and circumcision is being done?
-No Antibiotic Eye Ointment (NO silver nitrate, and I am allergic to the alternative option of erythromycin so could baby be? Mom – do you remember what actually happens to me when I take erythromycin?). I can do a STD test pre-delivery to rule out any chance of passing on gonorrhea or chlamydia if that’s the only concern. If there are other concerns, what are they?
-No Hep B shot.


I’m sure I’ll think of more questions, but that’s it for now. I’m actually hoping to keep this list very simple in the end, but first I need to get a few questions answered so that Charlie and I are prepared/educated about our options and rights in the hospital. 

Finally, I’ll leave you with this note from my Mom about her own doctor and birth preferences with me 30 years ago. My Mom, the rebel. 🙂

After the 37 week line Dr. D. typed “Pt. has numerous questions, many things that really have no relationship to her pregnancy. Has many ideas that seem to be pretty much in defiance of normal medical treatment, seems to be P. Will continue supporting pt., numerous explanations are given for the routine cares.” DLC

This made me laugh to read.  My “defiance of normal medical treatment’ had to do with not wanting drugs, not wanting an episiotomy, not wanting the baby circumcised if it was a boy, wanting to walk around during labor, wanting to deliver standing or squatting if that was more comfortable at the time, etc etc. I had total faith that my body was made to have a baby, and I did not need all the rigamarole.  Dr. D. wasn’t used to such requests back in 1982!


  1. You knew I'd have a comment on this one, didn't you? If I could change my birth preferences I would allow for pitocin to be given AFTER the safe arrival of my child to assist with the natural expulsion of the placenta and I'm pretty sure my next letter will have a point that reads something like this:If anyone DARES to pull on the cord and apply traction my husband will slap your face. 🙂

  2. That was an education. I guess I have a lot to learn about what goes into a delivery. Good for you for educating yourself. I think most of us just go with what the DR. recommends.

  3. I'm so glad you're posting stuff like this. I want to be well informed for next time and this is definitely a good place to start.No pain meds is the farthest that I have gotten 🙂

  4. I read the post and then Oak's comment, and she made me laugh!Your mother was pretty ahead of her time. Was she permitted to eat/drink during labour?I am not sure if you midwife will permit you to eat during labour…maybe drink water or something? I think that would be in case you need to go for an operative procedure?I love the requests letter.

  5. Well, like all of us, we can really only be experts to our experiences. So what I have to say could well have nothing to do with you :)But, I'll say it (again) anyway :)The longer you stay home, the more control you have over what you get to do and when – duh 🙂 – re: eating, drinking, walking, squatting, etc.I stayed home until my water broke, so I ate, drank, walked, curled up on the couch watching Ellen and groaned my aching heart out! But once my water broke, my entire body went into its own bizarre-o crazyland and I basically puked and had diarrhea every other minute until the baby came a short/long (depending on how you look at it) 3 hours later. I couldn't eat, drink or walk, not because anyone was stopping, but because I couldn't physically handle it. Writhing around on that bed was the most "comfortable" thing I could do.I hope you don't think this is in any way some kind of post to scare you about labor. I was already well into the "I don't really even remember the pain" stage about a week afterward. It's just a post to tell you how it was for me and that staying home for longer was the best thing I could do for myself. Who knows what the situation will be for you when it happens. I guess that's one of the exciting parts? 🙂

  6. First, I'm thrilled beyond thrilled that you've gotten to this point! How wonderful and amazing!!My two cents, coming from the person who got everything she wanted within the constraints of my complications:I didn't write anything down, didn't give any papers to anyone and I still got what I wanted. Ask questions at the hospital tour, that way you'll know what you do/don't have to tell people. For example, my hospital's MO was to room-in so I didn't have to specify that I wanted my baby with me as much as possible – they already did that. If you don't want the eye goop, they usually do that on the pediatrician's orders, so you'll have to ask your pediatrician to tell them not to do it.If you want to wear your own clothes, keep the lights low, play your Hypnobabies, just do it. You don't have to ask permission for these things. I didn't even tell them I was following Hypnobabies protocol – I just set up my iPod dock and started playing the tracks. No one even raised an eyebrow. We turned the lights low and no one turned them up. I had to be induced because of my complications, so staying at home wasn't an option for me, but I definitely second the idea of staying at home as long as possible.I also had to have Pitocin but I bugged them constantly to take it out once she was born which is why I'm pretty sure they took it out the second they could.I talked to my OB TONS about episiotomies way before the baby was born and she was 100% clear on where I stood with them as well as me knowing where she was with them. Thankfully, I didn't have to have one but I assumed I'd get the option regarding cord clamping. It happened so fast once the baby was born that I didn't even have the chance to say anything about it, so I'd be super clear about that particular one. In general, I'd say things happen really fast once the baby is actually out and that's when I was most disoriented. Not in a drugged up kind of way, more like HFS I just had a baby and I did it without drugs and I don't even know which way is up right now. So I'd have things lined up regarding that time way before hand because you really don't have the presence of mind to be giving orders when they put your baby in your arms.Sorry for the super long comment but I just want you to know that you absolutely CAN have the birth experience you want even with constraints. You just have to ask the right questions of the right people before the big show and you'll do great!!!!!

  7. Wow, I had have no idea about any of that stuff. I hope I can take time to plan that out someday. Good Job!

  8. This is such a great list. Something tells me that your momma will be there to kick someones ass if they don't follow it to the letter for you even if you aren't up for it! 🙂

  9. LOVE your birth preferences. But probably because they just so happen to be very much like my own. =)I had my first birth class last night, the biggest emphasis the teacher tried to make is how we have a choice. Just because standard practices are A, B & C, – doesn't mean we have to follow their protocol – barring medical emergencies of course.Good for you for speaking up!

  10. Good for you for thinking long and hard about what makes you and your DH most comfortable. You definitely want labor to be a positive experience, a nd it's great that you're planning to be assertive with your wishes!

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