With the completion of my prenatal class I have started to think a bit more about the birth of my baby and how I can prepare. Before becoming pregnant I had no idea what a birth plan was. Lately I have been hearing more and more about the benefits of creating one.
For those that may not be familiar, a birth plan is a document that you create before the birth of your baby outlining your preferences and expectations during labour. A birth plan can be a useful tool if you have very specific requests or if you are concerned that those responsible for helping you through your delivery may not listen to your needs.
The actual act of writing the plan can be helpful because it gives you the opportunity to sit down and think about how you actually want your labour and the delivery of your baby to go. Here are five reasons why you may want to consider writing a birth plan.
Quite often we don’t realize how much control we have. Creating a birth plan will help give you greater insight into the choices you have and allow you the benefit of time to calmly and clearly think about what you actually want.
Of course we all hope the birth of our baby goes smoothly and there are no complications. Being prepared for issues that may arise and thinking about how you would like to manage these situations ahead of time, will help to reduce the stress and pressure of making the right decision in the moment.
Birthing plans or templates can be a useful guide for conversations with your doctor or midwife. Talking about how they typically deliver babies and what tools they use, will give you the option to think about what will make you most comfortable before you have to make a decision.
During your delivery there is so much emotionally and physically going on, adding the stress of making a major decision or considering options that you were not even aware of can be quite challenging. Having a clear birth plan that has been effectively communicated to your partner and healthcare practitioner will help to take some of the pressure off and help you to feel more in control of the birth of your baby.
Of course writing a birth plan does not mean that the birth of your baby will go according to that plan. It’s important to be flexible. Talking to your healthcare practitioner before the birth, will give them greater insight into your requests and will make it easier to discuss options if the plan does have to change.
Many hospitals will provide you with a birth plan worksheet or brochure that outlines the policies and procedures for the hospital and explains what options you might have during the birth of your baby. Templates usually include information on pain relief, interventions, delivery positions, infant feeding preferences and newborn procedures.
Of course you can Google an unlimited number of sample birth plan templates, one that I found to be helpful was from Earth Mama and Baby Angel Organics.
At the very least spending a bit of time looking through the options outlined in a birth plan will give you greater insight into the choices that you have and some of the options that you might want to discuss with your healthcare practitioner.
Did you or are you planning on writing a birth plan? What template or resources did you use to make your plan? What did you find most helpful when you were writing the plan? Did you stick to the plan during your delivery? Please share your experiences and insights below.
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