What is a “birth plan” in adoption?
Many times a birthmother is asked (once an adoption plan is in place) about her “birth plan”. What IS a birth plan? It’s a plan made by the birthmother as to what she wants to happen during labor & delivery.
The first concern is to decide if you feel comfortable having the adoptive family in the hospital or birthing suite with you. Do you want them present during the delivery? If not, which parts of the labor would you like them to be present, if any?
There are so many people involved in the adoption process, you’ll need to decide if the adopting family, social workers, friends, family and so on should be at the hospital.
How involved do you want the adoptive family to be? Some key issues that need to be dealt with, preferably before the labor and delivery are: breastfeeding or formula, circumcision, bathing etc.
Be sure to talk to adoptive family about these questions and make sure you are on the same page.
Consider if you want to have the baby in your room after delivery. That’s another important topic that needs to be addressed. Some parents want the child to stay with the adopting family the entire time (in order to bond), while some prefer the baby to be taken care of by the nurses. Also, you’ll need to decide if you or the adoptive mother will be the one primarily with the baby during the hospital stay. Many hospitals (if available) will allow the adoptive family to have a room of their own on the maternity floor.
Some Questions To Ask
Other questions you may ask yourself are would you be open to letting the adoptive family cut the umbilical cord or do you want a doctor or nurse to do that?
Do you want the baby put on your chest right after delivery? Many times that’s what happens. Some woman do not want too much contact as they feel they risk bonding with the baby, others want to have quality time with the baby before they the baby goes with their new family.
Other topics are special memories like deciding who keeps the bracelet, pictures and other hospital keepsakes.
It’s important to make a birth plan to protect the rights of the birthmother so she can be confident during her hospital stay that the plan runs smoothly. This is an emotional time and difficult time for a birthmother and having a tentative birth plan can alleviate undue stress.
Many birthmothers and families have an on-going relationship and have discussed the birth plan. Make sure everyone involved has a copy; the social worker at the hospital, the adoption professional/lawyer, the doctor, the family and the birthmother. The birth plan is a guide or list of what the birthmother wants while in the hospital. It’s not a legal document and can be changed anytime, but it helps navigate the adoption process.
Again a birth plan is not legally binding and can change at any time. If a birthmother’s birth plan says she wants to spend two hours (for example) with the baby and she changes her mind, then the plan also changes.
Keep in mind that communication is the key to figuring out your answers to all these questions. Talk these things over with the adoptive family and anyone else that will be involved. Understanding each other’s wants and needs is a great way to help the birth and adoption process run smoothly, assuring both sides are happy and content with the final outcome.