The best approach to birth planning is to discuss your hopes, wishes, and plans cooperatively with your doctor or midwife. A formal, written birth plan is not necessary but it can be a useful way to communicate your plan with your labour nurse or another doctor/midwife if your care giver is not on call.
A birth plan includes deciding where you would like to deliver your baby, at home or in your local hospital. It can include the types of comfort measures you want available (massage, warm baths, etc.) and the options you prefer for pain relief.
Things to think about:
- Who do I want to be part of my personal support team during labour and delivery, and in the first days after?
- What do I hope my birth experience will be like? How will I prepare myself for the unexpected during labour and delivery?
- What do I need to bring to the hospital?
- Depending on the time of day, how will I get to the hospital?
- Will my other children come to the hospital? Who will care for them at home or at the hospital?
- Have I purchased enough baby supplies, including a certified car seat, ahead of time?
- Do I plan to breastfeed my baby?
Things to ask your midwife or doctor:
- What will the atmosphere and environment be like during my labour and delivery?
- Who will make up my delivery team?
- Under what circumstances might I require: induced labour, fetal monitoring, caesarean section, episiotomy, or other medical assistance?
- What are my comfort measures and pain relief options?
- How many support people (family, friends) may be present at the birth? Can my other children stay with me during delivery?
Expect the Unexpected
You may want consider how you would cope physically and emotionally, in the event that your delivery or birth experience is different from what you are expecting or hoping for. Remember that every birth is as different as every mother and child. Preparing yourself for the unexpected can make your birth experience go more smoothly.