Who says birth plans are a waste of time?
So you're having a baby! One thing that you're thinking about, is your birth experience. What will it be like? How is it going to go? Birth can be so unexpected, and so many parents opt to create a birth plan - to help them have a better handle on things.
Many people get discouraged from creating a birth plan, because they hear that doctors and nurses don't care or won't have time to look at your plan. They're told that it's pointless, because birth never goes the way you plan it. So many parents end up going into the labor room with no plan at all.
A birth plan is NOT a list of demands and ridiculous requests, that you expect your care providers to follow strictly. What a birth plan CAN BE - is:
* A helpful guide to encourage you to advocate for yourself!
* A way for you and your partner to be on the same page. Especially in the event that you (the birthing parent) is unable to make decisions; your partner is able to carry out your wishes. This is a good opportunity to begin working on your parenting relationship, in making decisions together for your baby.
* A good opportunity to do research about potential interventions, emergencies, and procedures that may come up during your birth, so that you can understand what they entail and what options may be available to you
* A way for your partner to help remind you about things that were important to you, that you may not be able to think of in the moment. Allowing them the opportunity to be an active participant in the labor process; by offering to dim the lights, turn on the essential oil diffuser, or play your playlist.
I recommend that my clients create a birth plan WITH their partner (if applicable). The birth plan should definitely be discussed and shared with your Doula if you have one. Pack your plan in your bag if you're going to the hospital or birth center.
There are many birth plans available on the internet. One that I really love using with my clients is the one from Earth Mama Angel Baby. It can be completed online and they take your selected answers, and compile them into a final draft that is emailed to you for download or printing. In addition to the primary birth plan, I actually recommend my clients to have a Top 3 Birth Plan.
A top 3 birth plan is a plan that contains the 3 things that are most important to you during the labor/delivery process. This is the plan that I recommend you give you your care team! It may be letting them know that you plan to keep your placenta, have delayed cord clamping, and having immediate skin to skin - for example. The top 3 birth plan can help you feel confident that your care team will be aware of the most important things to you, without giving them your entire birth plan. You can download your free plan template here, if you'd like.
It's never too soon to start creating your birth plan. Even before pregnancy, you may want to begin deciding what's important to you and the experience that you'd like to have!