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Why have a birth plan?
While no two births are identical, and your birth may not go as planned, it is important to have a document or outline of your wants and expectations for your birth journey. By distributing written copies of your birth plan to the members of your birth team everyone will be on the same page, thus making your birth go as smooth as possible. Having a birth plan allows you to look into different birth options to help you find what you want for your birthing experience, such as whether you would prefer an epidural or natural labor. A birth plan is also essential because it informs your birth team and care provider of which interventions you are and are not comfortable with. Also, a birth plan will cover your wishes if a Cesarean Section is necessary.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a document or an outline that your birth team or care provider can follow throughout your birth. Your birth plan should be descriptive with your expectations, not your demands. As noted before, your birth plan should include which interventions you are and are not comfortable with.
It is suggested that your birth plan include objects from your home that will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed during your childbirth. These items may include a pillow, fuzzy slippers, a stress ball. Also, a music player, music can bring comfort through contractions and help you focus on your birth. Things that you also may want to have present at your birthing cite are a birthing pool, shower, birthing ball, or birthing stool. These may or may not be provided by your hospital or birthing center.
Your birth plan should include your wishes regarding a Cesarean birth if necessary. You can also state if you would prefer things such as using double mirrors to view your own birth, having your partner cut the umbilical cord, or videotaping the birth. Things that should also be included are who you want present at the birth and what type of anesthetic you would prefer.
Who will be attending your birth?
Will your partner or relative be attending your birth? Maybe both? Or perhaps a best friend? Maybe you have a Doula or a Midwife. Regardless of what your circumstances are, it is very important to have a set plan as to who you want present at your birth. If you have another child that you don’t want present at your birth, arrangements you have made for them can be stated in your birth plan to avoid confusion.
Things to consider when writing a birth plan.
A birth plan is by no means a set in stone document and if some of your expectations due to hospital regulations or health concerns are not met, you have not failed. Your birth plan is simply something to work off of so your care providers can support you in the best way possible. Your birth plan should be extensively discussed with your care provider and all of your birth team. You should be open and honest with your provider while going over it and open to suggestions. Also, be sure to ask your care provider about the hospital or birth center’s fetal monitoring policies if an active birth is depicted in your birth plan.