Writing a Birth Plan: Your Expectations and Preferences

Writing a Birth Plan: Your Expectations and Preferences

 

While we can’t expect to control every aspect of our baby’s delivery, birth plans are a good way to clarify your wishes, or communicate your ‘best case scenario’. This means medical professionals can better understand how you’d like your labour and delivery to go, and can guide you accordingly.  Having a birth plan ready can also make you feel more confident and in control before you enter the delivery room.

What is a Birth Plan, and Why Should I Have One?

Put simply, a birth plan is a list of your preferences relating to the hospital environment, your medical options, and the immediate care of your newborn. 

The birth plan provides a guideline for your medical team, so that when you’re in active labour you can focus your attention on delivering your baby.

When creating a birth plan, it's a good idea to keep it on the shorter side to avoid confusion. Aim for one or two pages at most, rather than an overly detailed checklist.

What Should I Include?

It's up to you what you decide to include, but some core details would include:

  • Background details (your medical team's contact information, the hospital or birthing centre's address, your birth partner)
  • Your labour preferences (delivery positions, pain medication, labour induction)
  • Preferences for giving birth  (type of anesthesia in the event of a C-section, emergency contact details)
  • Preferences for after giving birth (medical procedures for baby, and will they be with you at all times?) 
  •  

Pampers.com offers a great birth plan template new parents-to-be can follow, too.

Sharing your Completed Birth Plan

Already written your birth plan? Review it with your healthcare provider to check that there are no missing details, or to identify any factors that might impact certain preferences (for example different birthing centre or hospital policies).

Once your birth plan is ready, give copies to your doctor, midwife, doula and birth partner. You can always keep a few copies in your hospital bag, too.

 

It's a lot to think about, but with a birth plan written and reviewed, you can hopefully feel a little more in control. Remember, even if things don't go exactly to script, this will still be one of the most important, memorable days of your life - and the start of your new baby's! You’ve got this. 

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