The birth of your baby should be one of the most memorable, life-changing and joyful experiences of your life. You will want to spend time thinking through the details of your hopes and desires for this special event. The American Pregnancy Association suggests starting with a journal to write down as many thoughts and plans for the upcoming birth as you can. Your journal will help you establish priorities and provide a list of ideas to help you create a birth plan.
A birth plan is a simple, clear, one-page statement of your preferences for the birth of your child. Providing a copy of the plan for everyone directly involved in the birth will help them better understand what is happening and give them the opportunity to resolve issues before the big day. Because there are so many aspects of birth to consider, it is best not to wait until the last minute to put your plan together. The plan will provide an effective avenue for discussing important details with those responsible for supporting and caring for you.
Try to remain reasonably flexible in your desires because things don’t always go according to plan. Remember that the important thing is the safe birth of your little bundle of joy. Keeping that goal in mind, the following points can serve as a guide for your plan.
1. Consider everything
The following list of questions might seem overwhelming, but now is the time to consider them one by one. If you find that a question does not pertain to you, just cross it off the list and continue to prioritize those that are relevant.
- Who do you want to be present?
- Do you want a midwife?
- Are you planning a waterbirth?
- Will there be children/siblings present?
- Do you want mobility or do you wish to stay in bed?
- Do you want pain medications?
- Do you want to listen to music?
2. Talk to your physician about your birthplan
Keeping in mind that every birth is different and that the definition of a “normal” birth can vary, try to use terms and phrases like “birth preferences,” “our wishes for childbirth,” “as long as birth progresses normally,” or “unless there is an emergency.” Make an appointment with the labor and birth area of the hospital to have the staff review your plan in order to make suggestions. You can request to spend time in an empty birthing or labor room to become more familiar with where you will be and what you might want to add to your packing list (extra pillows, pictures, music, etc). This should leave you feeling more confident about your birth plan.
3. Be Confident
During childbirth, many women feel like they are losing control. A birth plan helps many maintain focus and regain a measure of control even if unexpected events occur.
Visit GHS Women’s Hospital for more birth plan ideas and to view a sample plan.