I’m not sure how many doctors still tell moms to make a birth plan. Essentially a birth plan is a written out statement of how you want your birth to go. The though process is that when you are in labor you are not going to be making conscious choices of what you want done so they want to make sure you’ve given your plan to your doctors and nurses so they can already be aware of what you want during your labor and delivery.
Your birth plan should include things like:
-Do you want your birth to be natural? What interventions will you allow?
-What sort of positions are you willing to try to labor in?
-Who do you want to be in the delivery room or allowed to visit while in the hospital, if any?
-Any sort of religious or ethnic customs you want observed during your birth and labor.
-What pediatricians you want to handle your new born child and doctors you want to handle the delivery.
-Will you be breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
But the one thing most people don’t think about while writing a birth plan is that just because you’ve written it does NOT mean it is a set in stone sort of thing. Babies (our bodies!) will do whatever they want during delivery. I urge all moms to write their birth plan knowing that it MIGHT not go to plan. I never wrote birth plans for either delivery (which is good because both my births didn’t go anything close to what I could have imagined!). There are great things to put into a birth plan but don’t let it upset you if your birth doesn’t go according to what you have on paper. Sometimes there is just nothing you can do. Sometimes it’s best to write several birth plans to cover some of the “major” what if’s.
Some things to consider:
-If you want a natural delivery, what will you allow if your delivery isn’t progressing or you or baby are showing mild signs of distress?
-What are some things you would want taken into consideration if you have to have a c-section? Make sure you give written consent to someone you trust if you are not married in case of an emergency. If you have not selected someone the hospital might default to someone who isn’t in your best interest.
-Do you have doctors and hospitals selected if you or your baby would need emergency care that your current hospital can’t offer?
Naturally, these are all things we don’t want to think about, but it’s best to think about them and never have to use them rather than trying to decide them during the emotional time after birth. The bottom line of a smart birth plan: plan for the unplanned!