Birth plans are a great way to learn about birth and labor! It is a way to research what you want to have happen during the birth and what you don’t want to have happen at the birth. It helps you learn how to talk about birth issues/things with your spouse, your doctor, and your friends. If you have any questions, your health care provider is a good place to start. When your birth plan is finished, make sure you show your health care provider and ask them to sign it. If you are taking any health care classes, the instructors are also good people to ask for help with your birth plan.
10 Tips for Writing a Helpful/Informed/Concise Birth Plan:
#1 DO keep your birth plan short, simple, and easy to understand (1-2 pages max).
#2 DO keep the language of your birth plan assertive and clear.
#3 DO use your birth plan as an impetus for doing your own personal research about your preferences for childbirth. (One great place to start is: www.mothersadvocate.com).
#4 DO include your fears, concerns, and helpful things for the nurse to know.
#5 DO review your birth plan with your birth attendant and ask him/her to sign off that he/she read and understands it.
#6 DO make your birth plan personal (don’t just copy paste) and DO make sure that you understand and can elaborate on everything in the birth plan if asked.
#7 DO look at examples of great birth plans online to get some ideas. (Some good places to start: www.birthingnaturally.net; www.babycenter.com; www.mothersadvocate.com).
#8 DO run through scenarios in your mind about how labor could unfold and actually talk these scenarios out with your labor companions and Doula (or perhaps even your childbirth educator or birth attendant too!).
#9 DO try to treat researching and birth plan writing as a fun and exciting experience, not a chore!
#10 DO discuss your birth plan with your partner/friend/parent/Doula.
Remember to bring your birth plan to the hospital!!
Birth Plan Resources:
Birth Plan from a Mommy: http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2012/08/a-sample-hospital-birth-plan.html
Birth Plan Worksheet: http://www.babycenter.com/calculators-birthplan
This is a good one to look at for all kinds of ideas. I would not recommend using this whole thing – it is 4 pages long. You could choose all the boxes you want and maybe transfer them to a shorter birth plan.
Birth Plan Organizer - Choices in Childbirth (from a Doula): http://choicesinchildbirth.com/Birth_Plan_Organizer.html
American Pregnancy Association - http://americanpregnancy.org/labornbirth/birthplan.htm
Earth Mama Angel Baby - http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/free-birth-plan
Doula Rachel has put together a blog of resources, info-graphics, and articles, with an occasional self-published blog. Enjoy!