Benefits of having a birth plan

While there are ample things to think about when you are pregnant, from baby clothes and equipment, to prenatal supplements and decorating your little one’s nursery, one of the most important aspects that we should not forget about is a birth plan.  

What is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a comprehensive guide that includes your preferences during your labor and delivery. It can include information such as who you want with you during labor, how you want to give birth, if you wish to have pain medication etc.

When should I start making a birth plan?

While there is no hard or fast rule on when you should start writing your birth plan, you can start putting together the plan as early as your second trimester.

Why is a birth plan necessary?

A birthing plan will let your friends, family and healthcare providers understand how you want your labor and delivery to be. By letting others know what your wishes are, you can focus on delivering a healthy baby into the world without stressing about other elements and factors on the day you go into labor.

What should I include in my birth plan?

While each birth plan varies from person to person and should be customized according to your wants & needs, the below questions are some of the most essential ones to include in your plan.

  • Who do I want present in the delivery room?
  • What about pain management? Which method will work best for me?(Acupressure, breathing techniques, Epidural, massages, meditation, warm wash clothes, ice chips etc.)
  • How do I plan to give birth? (Natural birth, Cesarean, water birth etc.)
  • Do I want to use hydrotherapy?
  • Do I want to eat and drink before labor?
  • Do I want to keep the placenta?
  • What is the policy on moving freely while in labor?
  • Do I want my baby to be continuously monitored?
  • Who should cut the umbilical cord?
  • How do I want my baby fed?

Who should review the birth plan?

Once you create your birth plan, try to run it by your partner, a family member or a close friend. Be sure to hand over a copy of your birth plan to your chosen hospital or birthing place so that they can be prepared to accommodate all your needs.

What are the benefits of having a birth plan?

  • Helps you think things through ahead of time

Having a birth plan helps you to avoid having to make big decisions while in labor and helps those around you understand and fulfill your needs and wishes. Making a plan will also give you time to mull over your options and figure out what works best for you!

  • It helps your health care provider

Since a plan includes all your preferences prior and post labor, it helps your doctors, nurses and or midwife understand exactly how you would like your delivery to happen. This will help ensure that you have the best possible labor experience.

  • It helps your doctors figure out the best course of action

We all know that labor does not always go according to plan. Last minute factors such as a distressed baby, may require your healthcare provider to come up with an alternative method of delivery, different to what you have specified in your birth plan. If this ever happens, having a birth plan will help your doctor try to at least include some elements of your ideal labor, even though he/she won't be able to fulfill all your requests and preferences.

  • Helps keep your healthcare provider informed and up to date

Many doctors prefer when their patients discuss the birth plan ahead of their delivery date. This helps the mom-to-be, along with the advice of her doctor, make the best possible decisions  for the labor process. Reviewing your birthing plan with your doctor or midwife can help you customize and amend the plan according to your medical history, concerns and issues.