What Is The Goal?
A birth plan is a wish list explaining how you hope your labor and delivery experience goes. From what you want to wear and how you want to labor, to what vaccines to administer and when. It can be a tool to start conversations with your providers, and it can be a great resource for your birth team. But the REAL purpose of a birth plan is all about the knowledge you gain while researching all of your preferences!
Where To Start
One of the main things to remember when starting the process of writing your birth plan is that it is not set in stone. There is no way to predict everything that might happen that day, or leading up to that day. You might need to make changes to the plan once your labor starts, so you really have to stay flexible in case something unexpected happens. The ultimate goal is a healthy outcome for both mom and baby, as well as an empowered and informed decision making process. The best way to remain flexible in your birth plan is to be informed! Know the basics of the birth process and know the routine procedures at your birth place ahead of time so you have a feel for what to expect and there are no major surprises. I HIGHLY highly highly recommend taking a childbirth class during your pregnancy!
Time To Visualize
Once you’ve done some research, take a moment to sit down and visualize how you want your birth experience to unfold. Where are you when labor begins? How do you feel? Do you want to labor at home for as long as possible? Who is with you? What are you doing? Is it night or day? Is there music playing? You can be as detailed as you’d like here, this is your DREAM BIRTH! Your goal will be to write a birth plan that communicates to your birth team all of your wishes if your labor and birth goes exactly how you envision, but also includes your preferences if you have to go with plan B or C.
Tips For Writing Your Birth Plan
Make sure you discuss policies and procedures that your provider/hospital abides by, and keep the conversation open. Do all the research! The more you know and understand, the more secure in your decisions you will be. Discuss your wishes with your birth team (doctor/midwife/doula/birth partner) so that they are on the same page and are able to help convey them when you aren’t. Remember that a birth plan is a wish list, and that it might not go 100% as hoped. Prepare yourself for other outcomes. Keep it simple so it’s easy to read and digest. One page is ideal, front and back if necessary. (Highlight the MOST important things!) Bullet points are easy to digest. Make copies of the final plan to give to your provider, your doula and/or photographer, and to bring with you to your birth!