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Creating Your Unique Birthing Experience

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Customizing Your Birth Plan

Whether this is your first pregnancy or you’re adding another little one to your growing family, giving birth is a very personal experience. Creating a birth plan helps you think through and decide what is important to you, from pain management options to preferences immediately after birth. Below are some things to consider when creating your birth plan.

Preferences Before Delivery

As you prepare yourself for labor and delivery, it is essential to outline your preferences. This will help ensure that you have a positive experience. One of the most important aspects to consider is how you’d like to manage your pain.

Pain Management

When it comes to pain management during labor, our team supports everything from non-interventional or low-intervention labor techniques to nitrous oxide and epidurals. We want you to labor and deliver the way that you want.

Here are a few of the most common pain management techniques and what they entail:

Non-interventional and Low-interventional

For women who are full-term with a low-risk pregnancy, having a medication-free birthing experience with minimal to no medical intervention is an option. We offer the following nonpharmacological pain management options:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Breathing techniques
  • Positioning (labor stool, birthing ball, etc.)
  • Massage
  • Showering or taking a bath
Nitrous oxide

Nitrous oxide is a tasteless, odorless gas used to reduce anxiety and increase the sense of well-being during labor and delivery. This gas is mixed with oxygen and administered through a mask, being inhaled about 30 seconds before each contraction. This pain management option is safe for both mom and baby.


This is the most common pain management technique used for childbirth in the United States. An epidural, sometimes referred to as an epidural block, is when medication is administered through a tube placed in the lower back. With this pain management option, one can expect a loss of feeling in the lower half of the body while remaining conscious and alert.

C-Section Preferences

A caesarian section, commonly referred to as a c-section, is when birth occurs through an incision in the abdomen rather than through the vagina. If a c-section is recommended or critically necessary, you have options to make the experience as comfortable as possible. Before a c-section, you can request:

  • That your partner remains with you the entire time
  • To have the screen lowered to watch your baby be delivered
  • To hold your baby immediately after delivery
  • To breastfeed during recovery

Preferences After Delivery

After months of waiting, your body has just done one of the most amazing things: welcomed a new life to the world. Now that you’ve finally met your little one, you have the choice to make your preferences known about the care you and your baby receive immediately following delivery.

Breastfeeding vs. Formula

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of your baby’s life is ideal. Breast milk is the best source of vitamins and other nutrients for your newborn. While ultimately the decision to breastfeed is made by you and your partner, at St. Luke’s we encourage new mothers to breastfeed unless there is a medical reason not to.


If you have a baby boy, you will be met with the decision of whether or not to circumcise. is the removal of the skin, or foreskin, which covers the tip of the baby’s penis. Your choice may be due to religious or cultural customs or may simply be a matter of preference.

Other Preferences

After delivery, you have other options that you can share with your labor and delivery team to ensure that the experience is exactly how you want it. These additional preferences include:

  • If you’d rather discover the sex of your baby yourself
  • Whether you want skin-to-skin contact immediately
  • If you’d like the staff or you and your partner to give your baby their first bath
  • Consultation before your baby is given a bottle or pacifier
  • Keeping your baby with you at all times
  • If you’d like your partner to cut the umbilical cord

You are also able to opt for a delay in newborn procedures, such as bathing and measuring for the first hour to give you a chance to feed and bond with your baby.

Labor & Delivery in Duluth, Minnesota

At Aspirus St. Luke's Birthing Center, we are committed to providing you with the customized birth experience you want. We make it a priority to exceed the highest standards of care and seek the training needed to best serve our families.

To learn more about our labor and delivery services or schedule an appointment, visit our website or give us a call at (218) 249-4000.