A birth plan is meant to help guide your physicians, loved ones, and even yourself during delivery and for a few days afterward. While we can’t always decide how our baby comes into the world, feeling confident that our voice is heard and our needs are being met as much as possible makes the hospital stay a more pleasant experience.
Still, many parents choose to go without and play it by ear in the delivery ward. Let’s discuss what a birth plan does and doesn’t do to help you answer the question, “Is a birth plan necessary for you to have?”
When a Birth Plan Makes a Difference
Having a birth plan prepared allows a parent to understand the process and retain some power over a high-stress medical situation.
For example, if you would like to have an epidural at a specific point in the delivery, that can be discussed in your birth plan. This is also a place to make requests regarding spiritual accommodations you need during and after delivery.
Having a birth plan also makes a difference if you are looking to use specific labor techniques or have a unique medical need of which your health care team needs to be aware. You can request that staff with specific training in that area be present.
What a Birth Plan Doesn’t Do
When deciding if a birth plan is necessary for you to have, it’s important to know what a birth plan isn’t.
It’s best to see a birth plan as a guide for you, your loved ones, and your health care team rather than a guarantee. Some people put hours of research and planning into their birth plans, only for things to go entirely differently the day they go into labor.
The hospital, your doula, and even your family can’t promise that they will meet every aspect of your birth plan, as emergencies do happen, and your safety is and should be everyone’s top priority.
Is a Birth Plan Necessary for You?
If a birth plan isn’t a guarantee, is it a waste of time to create one? Definitely not. If this is your first time giving birth or you’re feeling anxious about how this delivery will go, a birth plan provides a sense of control and comfort to new parents.
Engaging in the delivery process and playing an active role makes being in a medical setting less frightening for most. Communicating with physicians and knowing you’ve been heard is truly empowering. A birth plan is never necessary for anyone, but creating one has real benefits for everyone.
It’s normal to have to adjust and reconsider your requests up until the day you give birth and even to make some mistakes when creating a birth plan. If you believe having a birth plan is beneficial for you, create it with the help of your loved ones and health care team to ensure it’s as accurate and useful as possible.