Home > How to Make a Birth Plan
Posted by Shannon M. on Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Labor and delivery are some of the most precious moments that a mother and child can spend together. That’s why a birth plan, or the written birth instructions you provide your doctor or midwife, is essential to ensuring that you have the kind of experience you want. A lot of women scribble down some labor and delivery notes in their maternity journal, but a birth plan takes that process one step farther. But where to start? First off, start by thinking about your ideal birth. Next, grab a piece of paper and a pen and start jotting your ideas down. While you’re writing, keep in mind a few helpful tips:
Cut to the chase
I know it’s tempting to write a flowery essay explaining your choices for labor and delivery (leave that for the maternity journal!) but your birth plan is not the place for that. Simply state what’s important to you in language that is assertive, concise, and easy to read. The idea is you want your choices to be so apparent that not even the gentle chaos of birth could obscure the meaning. I’d suggest dividing your birth plan into clear sections such as “Labor,” “Birth,” “Immediately Following Birth,” and “Post-Partum.” You will also want to include a section titled “Caesarean Section,” in which you will detail your wishes if a “C-section” is necessary.
When writing your birth plan, use it as an opportunity to perform a little research on your preferences for childbirth. I’d suggest starting with sources such as Mother’s Advocate, a website dedicated to helping moms have the safest and healthiest birth possible. Look into different techniques – even those you’d never considered before – and weigh all of your options. The goal is to make every choice as informed as possible. If you haven’t already, I’d also suggest watching the Ricki Lake documentary The Business of Being Born, about giving birth in the United States.
There are some things that you should definitely cover in your birth plan. A checklist might even help, though it’s important that you never just copy and paste. Be sure to include your wishes for the following:
- Starting and/or speeding labor
- Pain relief
- Comfort items
- Baby care
Talk about it
Once you’ve completed your fantastic new birth plan, share it with your doctor or midwife on your next check-up. Make sure that he or she fully understands your wishes and any questions or concerns are ironed out in the meeting. Bring several copies with you and ask your care provider to make sure that all pertinent parties have access to it. You’ll also want to review your birth plan with your partner and make sure they know exactly what you want. After all, they are there to support you and to see that your wishes are actualized.
While you’re researching your birth plan, consider a gift for your birthing partner. Stop by the Daddy Scrub’s gift shop for an assortment of unique gifts and gift sets.
Content by Shannon M.