Next week I’m meeting with my Doula team to talk about, amongst other things, birth plans. A birth plan is a great way to figure out what’s really important for you, what’s the norm for your care provider, and what’s allowable by your place of birth. No matter what type of birth experience you want or end up having, a birth plan may help you feel more comfortable. Going into labor is a daunting task and can be somewhat anxiety ridden. Having a plan for your birth can give you some semblance of control while letting those caring for you understand what is most important to you.
Most people think that birth plans are about going against the grain. It doesn’t have to be used in that way. It’s not only about medical interventions but can also include the following environmental requests:
- Sound – Do you want music playing in the background? Many people bring iPods and laptops to play music that keeps them calm and centered.
- Noise Level – How quiet or loud do you want it to be? Everyone is different, and everyone comes from different surrounds. I know I’m personally very quiet, but someone from a loud and boisterous family might want lots and hustle and bustle around her to feel safe.
- Conversation Topics – Do you want to hear people talking about things that are not birth and labor related? Sometimes when you’re in the middle of a contraction, outside conversation can hinder the process.
- Lighting – How dark or light do you want the room? Many women like to labor in a dimly lit room but maybe you like the way bright lights energize you.
I’ve spoken to a few of my friends and fellow bloggers. Some tips they’ve offered are:
First and foremost, remember to bring it with you. Nichole from NJ suggests making that a point on the plan itself…to pack it in your hospital bag. Her first time around she forgot hers at home.
Keep it short and to the point. Jamie from Grumbles and Grunts suggests that a plan shorter than a page made up of simple bullet point requests is why hers was taken seriously and used by her Labor & Delivery nurses.
Allison from Allison the Meep wishes she had had one because she feels that some of the medical interventions that occurred during her labor could have been avoided with better instructions.
In the end you may or may not end up with the birth you planned for, but if some of the options you voiced your concern on are met with respect you’ll walk away, not only with that beautiful baby you’ve dreamed of, but also a feeling of empowerment. Did you have a birth plan? What do you feel was the most important component or what do you think was missing?