A birth plan is a document that communicates your preferences on various aspects of labor such as before labor begins, environment, pain relief, monitoring, second stage of labor, third stage of labor, delivery, and your stay at the hospital and much more. Its not possible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. But a printed document gives you a place to communicate your choices.
There are a lot of options and decisions to be made before you go into labor so you should start working on a birth plan as soon as possible. Thoughtfully considering a birth plan helps prepare you for better communication during labor. Be sure to make enough copies to present your customized birth plan. Also your partner, close friend or relatives should know your wishes to support you through your labor.
I had a birth plan with both my labors and found it to be very valuable. I provided a copy to my doctor in advance and discussed my wishes with him. I submitted a copy to the nursing unit at the hospital. My family had a copy and I had a printed copy in my bag as well. So everyone was well informed of what I desired for the birth of my baby.
Most hospitals or birth centres will provide a birth plan worksheet. You can also find websites that provide free birth plans like Earth Mama’s Free Birth Plan.
Pregnant Woman Having Some Contractions image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net