Tips for Creating Your Birth Plan

Creating your birth plan gives every new mom a sense of control at a time when it seems nothing, not even her own body, is controllable. It often seems like absolutely everything is out of a new mom’s control, and if nothing else creating a birth plan is a necessary step to feeling in control of something. Birth plans are also a wonderful way to really sit down and prioritize what will be important to you on your day of labor, and what thing you could do without.

Creating Your Birth Plan

The very first thing that you need to know about a birth plan is that when the time comes, even if you have expressed a great determination to stick to the birth plan and all of your physicians and nurses know this, there is a strong possibility that birth plan will go right out the window. Every nurse will do their best to stick to that plan and follow every aspect of that birth plan, but when it comes right down to it your ideas of labor might change, your partner’s ideas might change, and the entire birthing and labor circumstances could cause the birth plan to be completely void.

With that said, creating a birth plan is wonderful exercise that includes both you and your partner. It will bring you closer together at a time when intimacy and an emotional connection is extremely important. It will also require you both to express feelings, anxieties, excitements and fears about the upcoming birth of your new baby.

When creating your birth plan, follow these simple steps:

  1. Start Early and Add – Creating a birth plan is usually not at the top of your list early on in your pregnancy. You’re too busy thinking about names, cribs, clothes, and decorating the nursery. However, it is helpful to always have the birth plan available and to always have it in the back of your mind should something come up that you’ll want to add and discuss with your partner.
  2. Work Together – This is a joint exercise and it’s crucial that you do it with your partner or individual who will be in the delivery room with you. You’ll need to be on the same page with everything on that list.
  3. Keep It Updated – As the birth date comes closer, review your birth plan making sure that everything on there is up to date. If you’ve discovered that there might be some complications, update your birth plan to reflect that. If you’ve decided on an epidural or not an epidural, update that. If you’ve changed your mind about music, lighting, or who will be allowed in the room, update that as well. This is your chance to have control over something. Take advantage of that fact and keep the birth plan updated to reflect anything and everything you want, right up to the last second as you’re heading to the hospital.
  4. Understand It’s Not Binding – Lastly, when creating your birth plan keep in mind that it’s not a binding contract. While the nurses and physicians will respect your wishes and do their best to stick to the plan, there are circumstances and situations that can greatly alter the plan.

When creating your birth plan, think about these topics:

  1. How will you be handling the pain? Will you want an epidural? Will you want to walk around? How about a birthing ball or light music? Think about how you’ll want to manage the pain.
  2. Who will be in the room and for how long? Do you want family in the room? Do you want them helping with the birth or standing in the distance? At the head of the bed or taking pictures?
  3. How do you want your baby treated after he or she is delivered? Immediate skin-to-skin contact or cleaned up and wrapped up first?
  4. Are you breastfeeding or bottle feeding?
  5. How will you handle unexpected circumstances?

There are many resources available on the internet to assist you with creating your birth plan. See the following for ideas: