Writing out a birth plan is often a great way to manage any anxiety you may be feeling about the day you give birth. It documents your hopes and plans for the day. It also lets your midwife, doctor and/or nursing staff all know what you would like or how you see the day working out. The important thing to remember though, is a birth plan is not set in stone. Labor is often unpredictable and you need to be prepared for the unexpected.
Before you write down your birth plan, do a bit of research on what options are available to you. Talk to your midwife or gynae about any concerns you may have as well as what their opinions are. Talking to other moms is also a good idea, find out what worked for them and what didn’t and what they recommend.
What should you include in your birth plan?
Your birth partner. Included in this section is instructions on who you would like to be in the delivery room with you. Are there times you would prefer them not to be in the room? Make sure your birth partner is aware of your wishes
Positions you would like for the labor and the birth. Use this to specify how you would like to be positioned for your labor. Would you like to use a ball, or remain in your bed? If you are having a water birth, when do you want to get into the pool.
Pain Relief. Be clear about when you would like pain relief or if you do not want medication at all.
Other medication. If your labor is not progressing as you would like, do you want to be given medication to speed up the birth of your baby?
Skin-to-skin. This is where you state if you would like your baby to be placed on your chest immediately after delivery or would you prefer your baby be cleaned and then handed to you.
Feeding your baby. Be very clear in this section on what your wishes are for your baby. Do you want to exclusively breastfed? Or may formula be given? Make sure everyone is aware of what you would like to happen.
Unexpected situations. It is a good idea to think about what could happen. If you want a natural birth, you may end up having a Caesar. Your baby may need to spend some time in NICU. Think about these situations and if there is anything you would like to happen in the event of an unexpected situation, write it down here.
Once you have written your birth plan, discuss it with your health care professional or midwife. Ask any questions you may have and make sure they are clear on any issues they may have regarding your birthing plan.