Having a baby always goes as planned, right? The contractions start, your water breaks, you grab your hospital bag, your baby daddy freaks out, the two of you drive to the hospital and then, boom, baby pops out! Well, actually… creating a birth plan helps you think about what you want labor and delivery to look like and what it will take to make that happen. If you’re still not sold (or are totally not into extra homework), read why you just might want to start typing up one of these plans right now!
1. No Drugs, No Way: You’re 100 percent sure that your baby’s birth needs to be completely natural. The thought of any pain meds makes you cringe. It’s not that you’re a Viking, but you just want to go med-free. A birth plan lets the doctors, nurses, midwives and anyone else in the labor and delivery room know your stance on a no-drugs-allowed birth.
2. Careful Communication: This is your baby’s birth. Unless there’s an issue that requires medical intervention, delivery day should go exactly as you want. A birth plan lets you carefully and completely communicate your wishes to your doctor (or midwife). Not only does it give you the chance to let your provider know what you want, but it also lets the doctor or midwife tell you what’s possible.
3. Preparation Equals Comfort: Just winging it on your baby’s birth day? If that idea gives you a queasy feeling, you aren’t alone. You’ve read book after book, checked out all the pregnancy and parenting blogs and talked to every mommy friend you can find (that’s not even mentioning the hours you’ve spent with your doctor or midwife). Now is the time to put what you’ve been learning to use. Organizing your thoughts, hopes and birthday wishes into a fully formed plan won’t make delivery any easier. But, it will give you a greater sense of comfort going into childbirth.
4. Just-in-Case Options: Having a birth plan doesn’t mean everything will go as planned. There are no absolutes in pregnancy, childbirth or parenting. With that in mind, your birth plan is there to give you options (and a variety of them). Let’s say you want that all-natural childbirth plan. Okay, great! But, what happens if you need medication to induce labor or the pain is infinitely worse than what you thought you could handle (hey, there’s no gold medal for enduring the most labor pains possible!)? Yes, your plan includes the way you see the birth happening, but it also includes other just-in-case options that you may need too.
5. Understanding Labor and Delivery: Creating a birth plan forces you to truly learn about childbirth. Simply saying, “I’ll have the baby at a hospital with a doctor supervising” isn’t much of a plan. Chances are likely (make that, extremely likely) that your plan will be much more detailed than that. As you get to writing down what you do and don’t want, you’ll need to gather information about labor, delivery, the hospital or birthing center environment (or what you need to have a home birth), medical equipment, medications and everything else that goes along with having a baby.
6. Clarity at a Not-So-Clear Moment: The contractions are coming. Oh boy, are they coming. You’re in pain, you’re tired and you’d love to have something more substantial than the teeny-tiny ice chips that the nurse is feeding you. Now is not the time to start learning about pain management or make totally new decisions. Opening up your birth plan on delivery day and picking from the choices that you’ve already written out makes life much easier at this stressful time.
7. Including Your Partner: No one says that you have to (or should) come up with your birth plan alone. It took two to make this baby, and both of you can create this birth plan together. Why and what does this do for you? Well, just like writing the plan helps you to learn the lowdown on childbirth, it also helps your partner to do the same. Your partner will get an education in labor and delivery and feel like a part of the birth too!
Do you have a birth plan yet? Share your answer and tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)