It’s hard to feel in control when you’re pregnant. Your hormones are raging. Your cravings are random. And your body? Let’s just agree things don’t look quite the same. Thankfully, when you create a birth plan, you can have control over planning for the unexpected.
A birth plan is a written document that spells out your wishes for your labor and delivery experience. Yes, having a baby can be amazingly unpredictable. Things change. Babies don’t cooperate. Surprises happen. A birth plan can’t dictate a smooth delivery from beginning to end, but it does specify your preferences, assuming things go according to “plan.”
There are a lot of reasons to start a birth plan. It might help you:
- Begin thinking about things before that first twinge of labor pain
- Start getting real about your expectations
- Reduce miscommunication with your medical team
- Calm your stress
Take your time. Nothing is set in stone and you can change it any time. In fact, it’s a great idea to check your birth plan throughout your pregnancy in case your heartfelt wishes have changed along the way.
At the end of this wild journey you’ll be holding your baby and starting your new life together.
Now for the fun stuff. Here are some examples of the things you get to choose when
creating a birth plan.
Labor and Delivery Preferences
How things go down in that delivery room are (mostly) up to you.
- What atmosphere puts you at ease? Bright lights and club music? Low lights and Tibetan chants? There are no wrong answers here.
- What makes you comfortable? Some might opt for a warm bath. Others might choose an epidural—like, yesterday.
- What about family? Do you want them (and their lnstagram accounts) in the delivery room?
Those Unexpected Situations
It’s smart to plan for them, just in case.
- If you need to have an induction, do you know your options?
- Who’ll be there to support your decisions? Your partner? A doula?
After Your Bundle of Joy Has Arrived
Emotions will be running high and the room will be a blur. How do you want those first precious minutes to go?
- Who cuts the cord? Are you banking that cord blood?
- Is breastfeeding a priority?
- Any special placenta requests?
- Has your pediatrician been selected?
It’s time to take control. If you haven’t started your birth plan, you can do that here.
Once you’ve filled it out, take it with you to your next appointment or on your hospital tour. (Don’t skip the tour, by the way. You’ll learn important stuff like the rules of the hospital as well as the number of people you’ll interact with on your big day.) Use your birth plan to help guide your questions. And remember: At the end of this wild journey you’ll be holding your baby and starting your new life together. That’s the best plan of all.