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!