Welcome back to the final part of the Birth Plan Series! Click the links if you missed part one or part two so you don’t miss out on all of that information! In this post we will discuss the second stage of labor, the third stage of labor, and newborn care; as well as all of the information we need to include in our visual birth plan.
The Second Stage of Labor
Let’s dive right into stage two. The second stage of labor is the stage of expulsion, also known as THE DELIVERY OF YOUR BABY!!! YAY! This is the part where we have LOTS of important choices to make. Stage two begins after transition when you are already 10 cm and ready to push! Hopefully you’re not waiting until then to read this!
Tools and Interventions
So if you’re delivering in a hospital, this is when the nurse sets up a table with all of these intimidating tools, and like five more nurses come in the room to assist the doctor. Let’s talk about these tools and possible interventions the doctor and nursing staff may use to help you deliver your baby. There are forceps they can use to help pull the baby out. This doesn’t happen routinely because it is so hard on mom and the baby. The honest truth is, all these tools are really only there in case of emergency. The goal is for no tools and low interventions! If you’re baby is larger, or if the opening of your vagina isn’t quite large enough to allow the baby to come through without excessive tearing, they may encourage what is called an episiotomy. This is when they will make an incision (usually in the perineum, from the bottom of the vagina down to the anus) to help the baby come out.
Some people like to measure how they’re doing. They want to touch the crowning or they want a mirror to watch. You can include these requests in your birth plan for stage two. One thing I’m always sure to include is the “No traction on the placenta” icon. It will come out on its own, no need to pull it out! OUCH!
The Third Stage of Labor
Ok, Stage 3. The FINAL stage of labor! This is where you can include icons like “Delay cord clamping”, “Daddy cuts cord”, “Immediate and exclusive breastfeeding” “wipe down before contact”, and/or “immediate skin to skin”. Essentially these icons are how you want baby’s first moments, which in my opinion is super important! Think of who you want in the room. What do you want your baby’s first moments to look like? These are the choices you’ll make in the third stage of labor.
FINALLY- Newborn Care! OK, so typically at this point, they will do the footprints, the hearing tests, measure height and weight, and all that fun stuff. Sometimes they will take baby into the nursery to do this. I like to request they do this on my chest or in the room. I also ask they delay any exams or tests for one hour. Immediate skin to skin contact and that first nursing session (if you choose to breastfeed) is very important for bonding in those first moments.
They also routinely give the baby an eye ointment (this antibiotic ointment goes over the eyes to prevent infection from group b strep, gonorrhea, etc.) to reduce the likelihood of infection. We did the eye ointment with Rowan since I did have group B strep, but we had them remove it after one or two minutes. They usually give the baby a vitamin K shot, as well as the first in a series of three for the hepatitis B vaccine. You can choose to delay these to the week one pediatrician appointment, or not get them at all if you don’t want to. I highly recommend you research the pros and cons of each of these before making any decisions in the newborn care section of your birth plan. Lastly, I like to include if the baby will sleep in the room with mom and dad, or if the baby will room in the nursery for the night. We roomed in, because I had a terrible amount of anxiety (and still do 21 months later! Ha!) when my baby isn’t with me.
Ok, so we’ve talked through our choices a little bit regarding stage two, stage three, and newborn care. Let’s draft up that visual birth plan! Hopefully you downloaded the template. If you haven’t, you can do that here. All the icons are sorted by color to indicate which stage they belong to. You can drag and drop the icons into the template to create your own plan! Don’t forget to fill out the personal information! See my finished birth plan below! I covered up my personal information and my care providers names due to permissions, but you can see everything else. I will let you know how that goes when delivery time comes in an upcoming post!