A birth plan can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. It should always be understood to be a written version of the verbal agreements that you, your partner and your doctor or midwife have come to.
A birth plan is just that, a plan. Like anything in life the best laid plans are not a guarantee of a specific outcome, but it gives you the best chance of having your wishes fulfilled as desired. Begin discussing your ideas and requests early on with your partner and doctor or midwife. Everyone involved needs to be on the same page heading in to the birth.
He/she is your best advocate. They will be your voice the majority of the time in getting things done. This is especially true once baby has arrived. Make sure that they are on the same page as you and that they truly understand what your wishes are and the motives behind them. If they are not fully aware and as invested in your plan as you are, you are already starting off wobbly.
Your doctor or midwife
Your birth wishes could be the make it or break it deal with your care provider. Be very specific with them before hand and find out where they stand. If they are strongly against any of your plans and their logic does not make you sway from your decision you may need to seek a new provider. When you are in the heat of the moment, the doctor is going to make choices quickly and often times without your input. Make sure they are on the same page as you to get the best outcome for all involved. Understand though, that their end goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mother. So be sure to understand where they stand and inquire for their reasoning behind their perspective to see the issue from all sides.
If you are ever in doubt, a doula is a great team member in the delivery room. Your partner may be too caught up in the moment and not remember much of your birth plan. A doula will be your birth plan advocate and help to ensure that all persons in the delivery room are aware of your wishes.
In writing out your plan, start by deciding what, if anything, specifically you do not want to happen. Then decide on what it is that you specifically do want. Write things out as directly as possible. A nurse is not going to necessarily have the time or desire to stand there and read through pages of instructions, so keep things to the point.
Birth is a major event, not only for baby but also for mother. At the end of the day you want to come out happy and content with your baby’s birth and delivery. Create your birth plan knowing that some of the things may have to be deviated from to insure the healthiest outcome for both of you. The best way to avoid resentment and hurt, is to be certain that above all else, there is an open line of communication between you and your care provider.
Some possible topics to include in your birth plan:
- Who you want in the room.
- Visitors after the birth, how soon, how many, only specific people?
- Do you plan on using pain medications during labor?
- Do you have specific positions you want to use while laboring (walking, ball, tub, etc)?
- Are there any routine procedures that you do not want performed?
- Where baby goes right after birth, baby’s cord clamping, etc?
- Do you want specific music playing?
- If a cesarean section becomes necessary, what specific requests do you have?