Thinking you may want a birth plan to give your doctors, nurses, or midwives? That’s a great idea. Here’s why birth plans are important and a printable for you to write your own.
I can already feel you guys thinking that birth plans are for (a) hippies and granolas, (2) scaredy cats, and (d) control freaks
(5 points if you know where a,2,d comes from… I’ll give you a hint… Macaulay Culkin, the Wet Bandits and Christmas).
➡️ Actually, birth plans are immensely helpful tools convenient for both yourself and your caregiver.
She dropped her kids off at school at 7:30 am, had the baby with her midwife at 10:30 am, and made it to school pick-up in the afternoon.
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I call Planned Parenthood.
Labor and delivery doesn’t always go to plan, of course, but often it does. This is why it’s important to have a plan.
Some truths about labor and delivery and birth plans:
- For low-risk uncomplicated labor and deliveries, you will most likely be able to determine how things go.
- Your birth plan will also include your wishes if things don’t go as easy as you’d like.
- Being informed makes labor more comfortable.
- Being informed and understanding what is happening in labor helps you concentrate and labor effectively without the extreme fear and dismay that comes when we just “go with the flow.”
Read on for reasons to create a birth plan and to get your free printable.
- pinpoint an issue
- draw out how it’s affecting you
- label what you don’t like about it
- determine areas of responsibility
- figure out how it’s showing up
- say what you’d rather happen
- brainstorm solutions
The Undeniable Benefits Of A Birth Plan (And A Printable!)
Creating A Birth Plan Helps You Get More Informed
I think one of the biggest reasons to prepare for labor and delivery and to write a birth plan is that you get some knowledge going.
➡️ I recommend this article to understand what’s happening in your body during labor and delivery.
In reading up for my preference, natural childbirth, I’ve come to realize that fear and freaking out go a long way towards making labor more painful. Pain relief will help with that, but you will likely still experience a certain amount of discomfort before any drugs kick in so no matter which way you prefer, this is something to consider.
Your body knows what it’s doing.
Contractions are good.
It means the baby is getting ready to come out.
The transition “near death experience” phase is good, it means it’s almost over. Making a birth plan helps you feel empowered, informed and generally more in control.
Labor is likely one of the hardest things you’ll ever do physically so knowing what is actually happening within your body will help you to say “that pain is for a good reason” instead of “oh my goodness, that hurts, I’m going to die.” Though, of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.
Creating A Birth Plan Helps You Feel In Control
Okay, nature takes its course.
The baby comes when it will.
Your body responds how it does.
You can’t account for everything and even the best laid plans go amiss. However, there is a lot to be said for thinking out your desires and then voicing them to your caregiver.
- If you generally hate bright lights then having them shine in your glazed over eyeballs during labor will not be helpful. You can request dimmed lighting.
- If you have a favorite CD that brings you peace and comfort, most hospitals and birthing centers will let you play it! You don’t know until you ask.
Doctors and midwives (since they’re the experts) will make all your decisions for you if you let them. Of course they’ll consult you and I’m not saying they don’t care about your wishes.
But let me just tell you, the worst time to make a decision is when you are in labor. It’s a hazy time and no one can think straight.
If you can think straight then you are not in any sort of advanced labor.
In the moment, you’d sell your house, your other children and your dog if you thought it would end sooner. Think in advance so that when it gets intense, you and your caregivers know the plan.
Having A Birth Plan Makes It Easy On Your Midwife Or Doctor
Doctors and midwives are the expert professionals and want you to have the best experience possible with the result a healthy baby.
I’ve found that my midwives and doctor (I’ve given birth twice with a midwife and three times with a doctor) find it immensely helpful that I am informed.
I can sense they are confident in discussing options with me, they are able to go into more depth and are very willing to go along with my wishes to the extent where it’s possible.
I believe they enjoy working with you towards a birth that you desire.
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If they can have your birth plan available before and during labor then they can read up, get the feel for you, understand what you want, and try to make it happen.
If during labor they are able to refer to your birth plan then they will have an idea – through the whole process – what it is you desire.
This is also very helpful if your doctor or midwife isn’t available for the birth and you find yourself with someone new.
You’ll still be able to sit back, go through labor as calmly as possible (bahaha) and know that your wishes are being considered.
So now that you are chomping at the bit to make a birth plan, laminate it, and hang it up on the wall next to your maternity photos, let’s get cracking.
Grab Your Birth Plan Printable
The printable includes the actual birth plan pages, plus instructions on what things to consider for each section. Note: the goal is to be concise and to the point – bullet points even – because no doctor or midwife has the time nor inclination to read 12 pages, particularly not mid-labor.
Related Reads For Your Near Future:
- Ultimate Newborn Sleep Schedule: Week By Week
- Sample Newborn Routine
- Printable Newborn Feeding Chart
- Newborn Feeding Schedule That Works
- How To Survive The Newborn Phase
Birth Plan FAQ
Why do I need a birth plan?
You don’t *have* to have a birth plan. If you don’t want an epidural or want to be able to walk or want to listen to certain songs or have some type of request that might be out of the norm (which is to get an epidural and sleep until you push) then a plan is good.
They (and you ) will just do whatever happens without a plan. And that is fine, unless you have certain wishes that might be overlooked.
What exactly do you put in a birth plan?
In your birth plan you decide what you want to do for pain management, where you want to labor, what types of interventions you ARE or ARE NOT okay with.
You put what you want to do during contractions, who you want to be there, and how you want to pass the placenta. Get my printable here and get all the info.
Do doctors actually follow your birth plan or do they do what they want?
Well… it kind of depends. Midwives will generally encourage you to have a birth plan and will work to have it followed. If you do natural childbirth and have a doula then you have someone else to help you.
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I’ve had doctors who were also willing to follow my plan and nurses there supported that as well. They always offer their own suggestions, but they do respond to your requests. This is why you need a birth plan. Without one, you miss out on the opportunity to make birth an experience as comfortable and fear free as possible.
Isn’t a birth plan pointless since you just have to go with the flow?
When you are in labor, especially when you get to transition and are in a life and death situation, you simply don’t know/care what you wanted. So a birth plan might say, if my contractions don’t start after my water breaks, we will wait *this* long. It says, we will do *this* pain med, but not *that* one.