A Reason to Write (a birth plan)
Unfortunately, unlike many of other great life events, a birth can not be planned. Preparing for it and portraying your wishes, though, are a good way to help you to achieve your desired birth experience. Because of this, New Birth Services suggests writing out a birth plan for your birth. Many people call this written list different things, such as birth preferences, desires, wishes, etc. because we can’t plan everything that will happen in birth. Throughtout this article though, it will be referred to as a birth plan because this is its most common name.
Many women and couples have found writing a birth plan to be very helpful for their experience, because of some or all of the following:
1. It helps you to know what you want. - When looking at the options for birth, it gives you an opportunity to really investigate those options and become informed about what is available, as well as what can happen. It’s hard to achieve a goal without knowing the path to get there.
2. It gives you an opportunity to share with your provider your wishes before the big moment. – It’s not a great idea to wait until the big moment to see if your provider will support your wishes to go unmedicated or to be able to have freedom of movement. Trust me. Labor is not the time to be making deals or trying to convince someone of something. When you write up a birth plan before your labor, you have the opportunity to take it to a prenantal appointment to discuss with your provider what you would like and how you can work out something together as a team.
3. It’s a form of communication with hospital staff once you are in labor. – It’s pretty much a guarantee that when you are at the hospital in labor, you will have staff members attending you whom you have not met before. Because of this reason, they will not be familiar with your desires for your birth. Having them written out will allow them to know what you would like without you having to take your focus off of your labor to tell them. There is also a good possibility that once you have shared your desires with your nurse, a shift change will happen or she will take a break, leaving you with a completely different nurse. Having it on paper also allows you to share it with many people, instead of having to remind each new person who comes into the room.
4. Women are generally more content when they use a birth plan. – Did you know that studies have shown that utilizing a birth plan is beneficial for the mother. It has also been found that women feel more empowered with a birth plan. Great news!
As you can see, there are benefits to doing that extra bit of homework for your birth. If you’re interested in learning more about using a birth plan, or would like guidance in writing out yours, contact New Birth Services for a consultation to recive help designing your personalized birth plan.
Whitford, H. M., BN, MM, RGN, RM, & Hillan, E. M., MSc, PhD, RGN, RM. (n.d.). Women's perceptions of birth plans. Midwifery, 14(4), 248-253. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from MSc, PhD, RGN, RM.
Moore, M., BA, RN, MPH, & Hopper, U., RN. (1995, March). Do Birth Plans Empower Women? Evaluation of a Hospital Birth Plan. Birth, 22(1), 29-36. doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.1995.tb00551.x