Birth plan is something you should start working on as soon as possible. It is not a guarantee that everything will turn out just the way you imagine, however, it gives you a great deal of control during labor and delivery, and immediately after childbirth. But before you start writing your birthing preferences, you should take yourself enough time to see what are your options in the first place. A birthing plan typically covers three areas – your wishes during labor and delivery, and right after delivery. Think about what kind of labor would you prefer. Would you like to give birth in water or the traditional way? Which position would you prefer? How about pain relievers? Do you want your partner to be present during delivery? Do you want to breastfeed your baby immediately after birth? These are only a few of many questions you will need to answer when writing a birthing plan. But before you make the final decision about anything, you should consult with your doctor especially if having any special requirements.
You are highly recommended not to view a birth plan as such but rather as a list of your birthing wishes and preferences. In case you have a high risk pregnancy or if being at increased risk of delivery complications due to your health or other factors, your health care provider will perhaps ask you to alter some of your plans. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and keep in mind that your own and your baby’s safety should come first. Also, keep in mind that there is always a possibility of unforeseen events such as premature birth or the need for C-section delivery which is why you should be flexible about your birthing wishes.
After your doctor approves your birthing plan, be sure to put several copies into your hospital bag to be able to give it to the hospital personnel because you may not have the time or may not feel like explaining your wishes when the labor starts. Be sure to keep it simple and short – one to two pages at most because no one wants to read a whole book of wishes. Put the most important things first and watch for the language you use.
Birth plans have become very common in the recent years but you do not want to call it that way. Instead, title it as “birth preferences“ or “birth wishes“. The medical personnel got used to printed birthing plans but you do not want to make them feel like you are giving them instructions what to do. Also, avoid using words such as “I want you to“ and “I don’t want to“ but use world like “I would prefer“, “I hope to“, ”I would appreciate“, etc. Also, do not forget to include words such as “if everything goes normally“ and “unless medically necessary“ to show that you are well informed about your options and that you understand that your own and your baby’s safety comes first.