A birth plan is a guide that helps the mother and her partner to express their feelings, wishes, expectations and desires throughout the labor and birth process. The birth plan is a reflection of your personal values and beliefs.
Having a birth plan and discussing it with your healthcare provider prior to delivery allows for opportunities to clarify your plans and give you an opportunity to ask questions. For some women, having a birth plan increases your satisfaction of the birth process and gives a sense of control.
Birth plans should always start with natural methods and methods you prefer. They should end with what interventions you will consider when the natural methods no longer work for you. This approach will enable you to control and shape your birth experience and will allow you to work with your healthcare provider in a far more productive manner. By listing interventions, you can hand the control of your birth experience over to your healthcare provider knowing that your needs and wants are being met.
You should start preparing your birth plan around 34-36 weeks, which will allow you opportunities to discuss this with your healthcare provider, partner and anyone else who will be a part of your birth experience.
Part of your plan should include packing the items you will take with you well in advance. By preparing ahead of time for your hospital stay, you will have peace of mind and not feel stressed about preparing for the big event. In addition to packing, making a list of what you want and need to take to the hospital to can help make your experience the best one it can be. This may include music, your own pillows, and other items to make you feel more comfortable. It’s also a great idea to buy yourself a new robe or new pajamas to make your hospital stay more enjoyable.
Access the link below to receive a birth plan template from Expecting and Beyond. You can fill this out for your healthcare provider to begin the process of going over some of your desires for the birth.