Giving birth should be a wonderful, life-changing experience that you can treasure forever. However, unless you have a plan, there’s a lot of things that can actually go wrong on the day of the birth.
A birthing plan gives you the opportunity to communicate your wants and needs while ensuring everyone knows what they’re supposed to do. It can also help you to get organized and provides you with peace of mind that you’re well-prepared for the day.
However, when it comes to actually creating a birthing plan, it can be difficult to know where to start. What should you include and how exactly should you write it out? If you’re struggling, below you’ll discover some top tips to create the perfect birthing plan.
1. Start By Jotting Your Ideas Down In A Journal
The key to developing the perfect birthing plan, as with anything, is preparation. So, it’s a good idea to start jotting down your ideas into a journal. Think about potential healthcare providers, the type of birth you’d prefer, pain medication and how you see the birth going.
Jot down as many ideas as you can and then work on outlining your most important considerations. This will help you to get started and form the basis of the plan. You can also ask your birthing partner for their ideas. This step will also help you to determine whether you need to do any additional research on specific aspects of the birth.
We will be coming out with our own pregnancy journals soon. For now, there are a lot of wonderful journals available on Amazon!
2. Keep It Short, Simple And Concise
While this is entirely your birthing plan and you can technically include anything you like, it’s important to try and keep it short and concise. Remember, you’re not the only one who is going to be following the plan. So, ensuring it’s short and concise will help your healthcare provider, as well as your birthing partner, fully understand what it is you want and need.
The ideal birthing plan will be 1-2 pages long. It will include bullet points and outline your most important requests.
3. Write Down Your Pain Management Preferences
One of the main things you need to decide upon is how you feel about pain medication. Do you have a preference? Researching and finding out as much as possible about your different pain relief options can help to make the birth seem a lot less daunting.
You may want to avoid pain medication altogether and opt for a more natural birth. For some pregnant women, pain medication isn’t an option due to previous addiction problems. Or they may be worried about the effect pain medication could have on a baby. Whatever the reasons, you’ll need to write them down in your birthing plan so your healthcare provider knows exactly what to expect.
A good tip here is to leave the pain medication option open. Many women have started out convinced they won’t use pain medication. Then, when the birth date arrives, they change their mind. The trouble is, if you change your mind too late, you’re not going to be able to have any medication to help ease the pain. So, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up option and know exactly when the cut-off point is.
4. Try To Remain Flexible
Following on from the tip above, it’s important to keep your birthing plan flexible. There may be things you’re absolutely adamant about and you won’t change your mind on. In these instances, you need to make it clear on your birthing plan that there is no flexibility.
However, for most things, it’s a good idea to have a more flexible outlook. In particular, you may request that you don’t have a cesarean section in your plan. However, what if a problem arises during the birth and you need to have one? It’s a good idea to stay as flexible as possible, otherwise, you could end up extremely stressed during the birth if anything needs to change. Stress isn’t good for you or baby, so a more flexible mindset can be extremely beneficial.
5. Try To Keep The Plan Positive
It’s common to write a birthing plan based upon the things you don’t want to happen. For example, you may write a list based upon the things you want your healthcare provider to avoid doing.
The problem with this is, if you approach it in a negative way (even if it doesn’t seem negative), it’s going to make you automatically anxious about the birth. However, if you were to write it in a more positive way, it can really help ease your fears. So, stick to including the things you want, rather than the things you don’t want.
6. Involve Your Birth Partner
Of course, the birth is personal to you, but you also need to consider your birthing partner too. In order for your birthing plan to be well-executed, everyone needs to be on the same page. If your birthing partner has no idea what to expect, they’re going to find it difficult to fulfill your wishes.
So, be sure to include what you expect from your birthing partner, but don’t forget to talk about it with them too. They may have their own ideas which you might not have thought about. This is an especially important tip to follow if your birthing partner is your spouse. It’s common for partners to feel left out during the pregnancy, so including them in the birthing plan can help them to feel useful and important.
7. Find The Best Healthcare Provider
You may already know which healthcare provider you want to go with. However, it’s still important to do your research. You’ll especially want to pay attention to the healthcare providers policies. There may be things there that you don’t agree with.
Your choice of a healthcare provider is extremely important. After all, they’re going to be largely responsible for ensuring your birthing plan is followed. Can you trust them to follow your requests? Are they friendly and easy to approach? If you aren’t fully comfortable with them, it’s going to make the birthing experience pretty difficult. So, always choose a provider you are happy and comfortable with.
8. Have A Backup Plan
Finally, similar to keeping a flexible mindset, you’re also going to want to have a backup plan.
It’s impossible to plan for every eventuality, as nobody can determine how the birth would go. With so many potential complications, it would take a long time to create a separate birthing plan for all eventualities. However, what you can do is have a single backup plan.
The backup plan should include what you would like to happen if your first options aren’t available. So, say you’ve requested a natural birth and your birthing plan reflects this. If you were to require an emergency caesarean, you wouldn’t have a plan for your healthcare provider or birthing partner, to follow. A backup plan would reflect what you expect if you do need to have an emergency cesarean. It puts you back in control if the unexpected does happen.
There’s a lot of guides available online, including example templates you can follow to create a birthing plan. However, the tips above can help to get you started. It’s never too early to put together a plan. When done correctly, a birthing plan can help to make the birth a lot less intimidating.
What did you include in your birthing plan? Share your tips below!
I agree to all this tips regarding birthing plan. It is necessary to plan accordingly to the time, process, availability, flexibility and budget. Planning helps in preparation more convenient and effective. Having the tips mentioned are eesential, it gives you benefit of relax mindset and back up plan which is optional depending upon the case you’re into. Partner’s involvement is necessary in choosing the healthcare provider,back up plans and the flexibility. This could be a positive preparation for both towards parenthood as well. Staying postive , simple and concise planning will be helpful for attaining relax and worry free journey during pregnancy.
Yes, one’s partner should be involved in the planning so he would know what to do in case the wife is no longer able to communicate what needs to be done due to labor pains. Sometimes couples also tend to panic when the woman’s water breaks, but if they have a birthing plan, it will help organize the initial panic or confusion.
I think before anything else, they should decide on the healthcare provider or hospital first so they could inquire about the hospital’s admission process and work out their birthing plan from there.
These are all great tips on birthing plan. But i believe that for a couple to be able to do all of these tips, they should start with wanted and planned pregnancy. A lot of teenagers today engage in premarital sex. And without proper knowledge, education and guidance, unplanned pregnancy could really be expected. Then all of the tips here would more likely go out the window. So for me, the number one tip for birthing plan would be planning your conception at your planned age and status, both financial and social. Then more or less, one could do all the great tips mentioned here for one to have a better experience of your pregnancy and birthing. 🙂
That’s true, fern2x2001 – a lot of the teens who engage in pre-marital or casual sex do not think of its consequences so they end up pregnant and unprepared. Still, there are those who, even at their young age, turn out responsible when they learn of the pregnancy, especially if they have supportive parents. If they feel accepted and loved despite what happened, they become ready for the parenthood ahead of them and eventually turn out to become responsible parents or single moms.
But as always, it is best to settle down when couples are already prepared financially, emotionally and psychologically.
This tips are very helpful and I appreciate. Since I am planning to have my first baby soon, I find this birth plan to be very important. I am happy you mentioned about being positive because I am the type of person who can go ahead and mention about not wanting a cesarean instead of mentioning that I want a natural birth.
I also know about a woman who was given a doctor to help her give birth but she refused the doctor and chose another one who no one recommended. The doctor she chose operated badly on her and she almost died with her baby if another doctor did not come to intervine. So doing research and choosing a healthcare provider earlier is good.
I also agree that pregnant women should involve their partners in their plans. After all, that is where most of the support we need comes from. 😀
It’s good to know someone was able to save the woman giving birth. It would have been sad if something bad happened to her and her baby.
No woman should take chances when giving birth because it could become a matter of life or death if handled the wrong way. That is why some OB-Gynes refuse to assist a pregnant woman if they don’t have her medical history in their clinic or hospital because they would not know of her medical condition if there are any, which could be disastrous.
It is always best to decide on an OB-Gyne at the very beginning because she will definitely know how to handle her patient.
These are great tips that I will be sure to keep in mind when I plan for my next baby. Something that many women appear to forget, although it is one of the most important things to remember, is that they should not be alone in their pregnancy process – the baby was not created by one person, but two people, and these two people should both have a strong influence on not only the pregnancy, but the rest of the child’s life. It’s important to have a plan for not only the child’s life, but also other things, such as budgeting, that will impact the life of the family.
True – the woman should always include her partner/husband in the planning process. The involvement of both parties is important in raising a healthy child and a happy family.
I agree that a woman should not be alone in the birth planning process; a husband’s love and support will greatly help her overcome any apprehensions or fears about the big day. It would also allow her to become emotionally and psychologically prepared for the childbirth.
These are the things that first time mom tend to forget, and when the time comes it becomes very overwhelming for the couple especially if they didn’t come ready, it will make them agitated, and this is going to be a nervewracking moment. Mom to be, should always plan ahead to ensure your safety and your baby. Giving birth is a very crucial stage, both of your life are at risk, Aside from planning ahead or writing down your list of plan, you have to make sure that your body itself is ready and in condition to give birth as well, Lastly, you have to consider thouroughly who to trust, your partner may be the one in charged with the decisions while you are in labor or giving birth but making sure that the facility, health care provider, and Ob-gyne are people and a place that are trustworthy.
These are very good points, Love. Indeed, being prepared is very crucial because giving birth could become a matter of life or death. A mom and her spouse should be prepared physically, emotionally, psychologically and financially. As you’ve said, it could become overwhelming and confusing. If one is prepared, it would not be too difficult to calm down and recall the plans you’ve made.
Finding the best health care provider while making your birthing plan can pay off at the end of everything. The reason is simply that no matter which direction, the delivery will take, your health care provider will be there to sort things out at the end of everything. So, I agree with you on the need to choose the best and one that is affordable to the family.
Correct! The safety of the mom and her baby is in the hands of the healthcare provider so an expert and caring OB is essential.
The caring health provider is priceless for he/she is that one that can understand both the health and the emotional aspects of the baby and the mom. It’s important to take care of them with love.
When the delivery time approached, my wife and I made plans. We made a list of things to do, we made a list of things we should buy and all that. However, this happened in such a hurry that we could not go through our plans. We had not planned for C section, however, wife had to go through C section.
Situations really become difficult if things do not go according to plan. I would say it’s best to have a Plan B for the next baby 🙂
The same thing happened to my youngest brother. His wife’s Gynecologist kept saying during the pre-natal check-ups, even after an ultrasound, that the baby is doing fine and his wife will give birth via the normal procedure. Unfortunately, when they arrived at the hospital, doctors said normal delivery is not possible because it could endanger the baby as its umbilical cord is tied around her neck so she could suffocate. They had to do a C-section on my sister-in-law, too, and it entailed bigger expenses.