A birth plan is a good way to find out what your wishes are for your birth. The most important thing about making a list of your preferences is it forces you to do some research about what you might want and possible outcomes based on those choices. When you base your preferences on solid evidence, your preferences will be more likely to be respected by your care provider. Here’s 5 reasons why a birth plan is a good idea.
1. It is a clear and concise way to communicate your wishes to your birth staff. Your nurse will appreciate a easy to read one page document listing out what you expect.
2. Making a birth plan requires self education and research. Knowledge is power. You have a lot of decisions to make as a parent starting as soon as you find out you're pregnant, it’s important to make those decisions based on evidence based information, when its available.
3. While researching for your birth plan, you can get a good idea of what to expect in labor.
4. Your birthing staff will know what you want in the event that things don’t go according to plan. If you end up with an unplanned c-section, what does that look like for you? Would you like skin to skin in the OR? If you are under general anesthesia who do you want to care for your baby until you wake up?
5. Writing your birth plan is a good way to get your partner involved and open communication between you to make joint decisions about your birth. This is your parters birth too and he needs to feel safe and heard and a lot of times dads don't know what to expect or how many decisions need to be made. It’s also important for you to show him why something may be so important to you so he can fully support you when the time comes. Writing your birth plan together is a great way to get the conversation started.
Having a birth plan doesn't guarantee that you will have “the perfect birth”, but having a birth plan can help you when you need to make important decisions. You have already done some self education about possible outcomes, opened communication between you and your partner and your care providers.