The Benefits of a Written Birth Plan

shutterstock_65158405What is the purpose of a Birth Plan? Your Birth Plan is a clearly stated 1-2 page plan, developed by the parents-to-be to communicate their wishes and priorities regarding the birth of their baby, to the doctors, midwives, nurses and family members that may attend your birth. Having the entire team on the same page can help all involved focus on creating the birthing experience you’re hoping for.

The birth of our babies is one of the most, if not THE most momentous, life changing, thrilling and overwhelming occasions a person will ever experience. Not only does our day to day routine change once we become a parent, but our priorities, perspective on life and who we are as a person is now someone new…. We are this new, precious, human beings mother and father.

During the labor process, the laboring woman will not be able to focus on discussing all her wants and fears so it is really important that throughout the pregnancy she thinks about what is most important to her, and communicates these needs and desires with her partner and her providers. For every one of us, this list of priorities will be different. It is a wonderful opportunity for the expectant couple to really connect and discuss their own individual goals, hopes and dreams regarding the birth of their baby so they can be on the same page…. Then they need to communicate their goals with their provider so that they can feel comfortable and confident with their birth plan.

There are things to remember when developing your birth plan:

  1. Be flexible – things don’t always go as planned and the baby hasn’t read the plan! The ultimate goal of all parents and providers is a healthy mom and baby!
  2. How do you handle pain? Labor IS painful, but pain is subjective. How we cope is very personal. What gives YOU comfort and helps you focus? Music? Aroma therapy? Massage? Medication? There is no right answer here…. I had 3 babies without an epidural and 1 with, and I love them all the same and all my births were powerful and wonderful. This is YOUR birth! You shouldn’t feel pressure to use or not use medication.
  3. Who do you want present? Often parents feel an obligation to have friends or family present at the birth, but who meets your baby with you is a personal decision the parents need to make. Some find comfort and strength from lots of support people and some want to be alone with their partner.
  4. What are the routine procedures? Research the policies of your chosen facility.  How does your chosen facility handle an emergency situation?
  5. Be positive! Focus more on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Write your Birth Plan as you want your birth to be instead of a list of things you don’t want to have happen.
  6. Discuss your plans with your provider. It is important to clearly communicate your desires with your provider and it is important to listen to your provider as you want them to listen to you. Trust is an important part of any relationship.

For more information and assistance in writing a birth plan go to americanpregnancy.org

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