Birth Plan: What Will Typically Happen During Labor At Hospital And What Are The Alternatives

Birth Plan: What Will Typically Happen During Labor At Hospital And What Are The Alternatives

Pregnancy is a period of great joy and quite a few difficulties for all women, but it is all well worth it, because at pregnancy’s end new life is created and a new child is brought into the world. What most women have a trepidation from is the process of labor not pregnancy as a whole. While we know a lot about pregnancy today, even boys are taught the basics, the process of labor and options available to us are rarely explained to us in school or lectures.

We are here to discuss your birth plan and help you get a better understanding of the procedures you can opt for or against while going into labor at hospital. We are also going to discuss the alternatives you can go for, and attempt to move aside the veil of mystery from this topic.


Birth plan

Your birth plan is a document which serves the purpose of reminding your medical staff what preferences you have when it comes to procedures you want used during your labor. Once labor starts, you are not going to be focused enough to make these kinds of decisions and this is why most hospitals hand out birth plan brochures before labor. Keep in mind that a birth plan is not set in stone and that you can’t control every aspect of your labor, so remain flexible and consult your physician about your options.



Now we are going to discuss what happens when a woman goes into labor and arrives at the hospital. We are going to mention some alternatives and options you can go for, but keep in mind that not everything works for every pregnancy, which is why you need to consult your choices with a physician before making a decision.


  • The fact that you have gone into labor doesn’t mean that you will be admitted right away. A nurse or a doctor will evaluate the progress of your labor and after that three things can happen. You can admitted immediately, asked to walk around for a bit or be sent home till the time is right.
  • After admittance, depending on the hospital policy you may be allowed to bring support with you. This may include your partner, family, friends – basically the choice is yours. You may also be allowed to bring some comfort objects like amulets, religious objects, photos, pillows or make other requests like dimmed lighting, soothing music or something else entirely. Be reasonable though, and inquire about hospital policies in advance.
  • IVs are not a standard procedure in most hospitals but you will be asked to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Shaving and enemas are also not standard procedures in hospitals anymore.
  • If your baby’s heart rate is normal you will not be constantly hooked up to a fetal monitor, which allows you to move more easily. Again, this all depends on the hospital policy so make sure you inquire about it.
  • Pain management comes next. There are three options to choose from: unmedicated, medicated and epidural birth. If decide to go for unmedicated birth you may want to inquire about labor props that the hospital can provide and which ones you can bring to help you along. Medicated and epidural birth require a more intensive consultation with your physician.
  • In case of a labor that has stopped your medical staff may recommend that they help you along by intervening either through breaking your amniotic sac or through administering Pitocin.
  • The medical team is there to help you do all the right things but your body might be your biggest natural ally. A lot of women push when they feel it is the best time to it signaled by their body and instinct.
  • Most people believe that the proper position for giving birth is by lying on your back. This isn’t true and you can opt for squatting, semi-sitting and so on.
  • Episiotomies are not routine procedures, but there are situations in which your medical staff will recommend it as necessary.
  • In some situations a birth may be assisted by the staff by using vacuum or forceps to extract the baby.
  • In case of a C-section, in the majority of situations, you support person will be allowed to stay with you and you will be awake through the process. In other, more complicated cases, the mother is put under general anesthesia and the support person is asked to leave.

After giving birth

After a successful vaginal birth the baby is given to the mother and is covered with a blanket to keep the baby warm. You can specify if you want to hold the baby right away or wait for the staff to bathe and dry the baby off.

  • If there are now emergencies you can usually ask for all the follow up procedures and test to be done in the room with you. If your baby needs emergency assistance you support person can accompany him/her into the other room.
  • Your support can cut the umbilical cord, but you need to notify your provider of this.
  • In recent studies there are signs that letting the blood flow through the umbilical cord a bit longer may help with iron deficiency and anemia with newborns so you may ask for this part to be delayed.
  • Banking cord blood needs to be arranged prior to birth and isn’t something that can be decided on the spot.
  • You can choose to breastfeed or use formula and you can start doing so as soon as you and the baby are ready.
  • Deciding if you want to use the pacifier or not is also something you can have impact on.
  • Finally, most hospital encourage mothers to spend as much time with their babies as possible for bonding purposes. Inquire about the hospital’s policy.

Well, that is a lot to take in, but all of this information is intended to help you view the process of giving birth at a hospital from a position of knowledge. You can do further research on each and every one of these points if something concerns or interests you. You can use this information to start working on your birth plan but remember that you need to remain flexible and rely on the guidance of your medical team. Happy childbirth!

Featured photo credit: 5 meses / José Manuel Ríos Valiente via


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Published on March 13, 2019

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.[1]  It also showed that about eight-in-ten pregnant workers (82%) continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth which has vastly increased from 35%. It is clear to see form the statical trends that more women are choosing to continue working through, and late into, pregnancy.

Unlike other developed world countries, the USA does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers under federal law,[2] though some individual employers make that accommodation and it is mandated by a handful of individual states. Finding what makes a great workplace whilst pregnant can alleviate stress and provide more stability for you and your family. 

In this article, you will discover exactly the best places to work whilst pregnant.

How Difficult Is It to Work Whilst Pregnant?

Many people strive to find and attain good jobs. For pregnant women, however, that process is often especially challenging. After all, you’ll face extra obstacles that are unique to expectant mothers.

If you are pregnant and need a job, then you’re definitely not alone. You are also not alone if you’re already employed and want to find a new job that is more family-friendly. Changing jobs while pregnant is something that many women consider, especially when they realise that their current positions may not be suitable for pregnancy or offer the benefits or flexibility that they’ll soon need. 

Getting a job while pregnant may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is possible.

You can look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. In addition, it’s obviously wise to consider avoiding jobs that may expose you to toxins, people with communicable illnesses, or other physical hazards.

The Pre-Natal Mamma’s Needs

During pregnancy, there are many mental and physiological changes that a woman will go through. In understanding those changes, it is more clear which types of jobs and workplaces are more suited to you as a pregnant woman. 

During pregnancy, the birth of your baby and the postnatal period, changes in the hormones in your body can have an effect on your emotions during pregnancy. These hormones and the changes can cause joy, fear, surprise and anxiety all of which can be assisted with necessary support and talking. 


The physiological changes are more varied according to each trimester:

1st Trimester (0-13 weeks)

In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.

These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation. During the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significant.

2nd Trimester (13 – 27 weeks)

While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn. You might find yourself growing more of an appetite, and your weight gain will accelerate. 

3rd Trimester (28 weeks – birth)

Travel restrictions take effect during the third trimester. It’s advised that you stay in relatively close proximity to your doctor or midwife in case you go into labor early. The baby is growing bigger and stronger; the kicks can be quite powerful and your abdomen is becoming larger and heavier.

Stretch marks may develop if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions- which are usually perceived as painless tightening can be felt. Lower back pain is very common and there may be more pelvic pressure and with this more frequent urination. 

Swollen legs and feet are very common as are increased fatigue, interrupted sleep and a reduced ability to eat a full meal at one sitting.

4th Trimester (Post birth onwards)

Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. There are many adaptations, recovery and rest that you and your baby need through this trimester whether you have a natural or c-section birth.

All of these considerations need to be in mind when looking to find a great workplace whilst pregnant — whether you’re looking to ask for more support from your current workplace, find a new job or enter employment. 


Next, let’s look at the factors that would define the opposite; somewhere you shouldn’t look to work whilst pregnant.

How to Spot The Worst Workplaces to Work Whilst Pregnant

1. Non-Negotiable Heavy Lifting

Do you have to lift, push, bend, shove, and load materials all day? If you do, many experts believe you should ask for a job reassignment or quit by the 20th week of pregnancy.

2. Toxic Environments

The list of jobs that involve dangerous substances is miles long. Consider the artist who works with paint and solvents all day, the dry cleaner who breathes in cleaning fumes, the agricultural or horticultural worker who works with pesticides, the photographer who uses toxic chemicals to develop pictures, the tollbooth attendant who breathes in car and truck exhaust, or the printer who works with lead substances.

3. Proximity to People with Communicable Illnesses

Working with or exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with a birth defect, or other reproductive problems.  Some infections can pass to an unborn baby during pregnancy and cause a miscarriage or birth defect. Infections like seasonal influenza (the flu) and pneumonia can cause more serious illness in pregnant women.

4. Extended Hours of Standing

Cooks, nurses, salesclerks, waiters, police officers, and others, have jobs that keep them on their feet all day. This can be difficult for a pregnant woman, but it might be downright dangerous for her unborn baby. Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of pregnancy disrupt the flow of blood.[3]

Key Factors Creating a Great Workplace whilst Pregnant

1. Flexibility

You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. Having an employer or job that provide care and is understanding to your needs is hugely beneficial.

A compassionate and empathetic employer will understand morning sickness; they will facilitate changes in working hours to accommodate your energy and assist with the smells from the work kitchen. 

They will also enable you to remain flexible to snack as and when you want to – crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Nad eating small frequent meals are similarly saving you as your meal quantity decreases.

2. Compassion

More employers are learning that the idea that pregnant women are willing and necessary contributors to the economy and are capable of adding long-term value to their organizations. 


Employers that follow good practice in maternity can improve the experience of pregnant employees and new mothers and encourage them to return to work following maternity leave.

A good relationship between a pregnant employee and her line manager is essential to the successful reintegration of the employee following maternity leave.

3. Stress Reduced

Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby.

To minimize workplace stress, take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritise your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate. 

Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one. 

Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it’s OK.

4. Adaptable

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.

Elevate your legs to decrease swelling. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks.


Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose, too.

5. Financial Support

Financial strain is one of the leading causes of peri & post natal depression. Employers can support employees by offering them benefits beyond the statutory minimum, for example training mechanisms to help them cope with balancing work and family commitments. 

The employer should conduct a performance review with the employee prior to her maternity leave to boost her confidence and encourage her to consider how parenthood and work will fit together.

Key Take-Aways

If you’re working while you’re pregnant, you need to know your rights to antenatal care, maternity leave and benefits. 

If you have any worries about your health while at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. You can also talk to your employer, union representative, or someone in the personnel department (HR) where you work. 

Once you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, they should do a risk assessment with you to see if your job poses any risks to you or your baby. If there are any risks, they have to make reasonable adjustments to remove them. This can include changing your working hours. 

If you work with chemicals, lead or X-rays, or in a job with a lot of lifting, it may be illegal for you to continue to work. In this case, your employer must offer you alternative work on the same terms and conditions as your original job. If there’s no safe alternative, your employer should suspend you on full pay (give you paid leave) for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

Look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. 

Your current employer may need to offer you different types of work or a change to your working hours. If your employer can’t get rid of the risks (for example by finding other suitable work without any reduction in pay for you), they should offer you suspension on full pay.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Petresc via


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