Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Birth plans. You either love 'em or hate 'em. A lot of us have heard how much providers and nurses HATE birth plans. But nevertheless we seem drawn to write one... why is that? The power of a birth plan is not in having a plan that forces anyone to do anything. The power of a birth plan is learning your preferences, learning when you might need to be flexible with your preferences, and when your options might change. Instead of being blindsided in the midst of labor with a roadblock, you will know the route for the detour. See, a birth plan is nothing more than a roadmap for your labor. If your preferred route doesn't work out, you have alternate routes in mind and have the autonomy to be a part of the team in figuring out how to move forward to your destination: the arrival of your sweet BabyBear!
So how do you write a birth plan that empowers you and that your providers WANT to read?
1. Break down your birth plan similar to the progression of labor. Having a header with your information, your providers information, and support team information, and any important info (ie allergies, etc) is important. Then split it into Early Labor, Active Labor, Pushing, Immediate Postpartum, Newborn Care, 2. Learn your options, and learn what the hospital's standard practice & policy are.
Some things may not be worth adding to your birth plan because it is already standard practice. Other interventions or policies might need to be addressed in your plan.
3. Use your BRAIN.
When you are considering your preferences, look at each option and think Benefits, Risks, Alternatives (the I (intuition) and N (now or never) tend be more important to utilize during conversations with your provider and in labor decision making). 4. Hire a doula.
Seriously. Birth plans can be overwhelming to navigate. Hiring a doula can be so helpful to prepare for birth and make it through labor feeling confident. You might be hesitant to hire a doula considering constantly changing policies on who is allowed to attend births at the hospital, but some doulas (like myself) offer prenatal support to help you prepare, and some are even offering virtual support where you can call or facetime your doula at any point during your labor for extra support.
5. Take a childbirth class! Childbirth classes can help you learn about the different options you have during labor and how to navigate labor. Childbirth classes come in all shapes and sizes and approach all different needs. From crash courses to in depth weekly classes, from completely medicalized birth to hypnobirth there is a class out there for everyone. Birthing With Confidence is a great example of a childbirth class that meets in the middle. We discuss what to expect in labor, how to cope with labor, what interventions are available, how to decide which interventions to opt in for and opt out of. More importantly, we work on addressing the fear of the unknown that surrounds birth. Learn more here!
If you still need someone to walk through writing your birth plan with you, check out the Birth Plan Workshop now where I destigmatize birth plans using the RoadMap concept, teach you how to make challenging decisions, review common options during childbirth, and discuss how to organize your birth plan in a way that makes sense. Also included in the workshop is a downloadable birth plan workbook that guides you through analyzing decisions. You will also get access to the Birth Partner Pocket Guide which is a printable quick review of all the important lessons your birth partner will need to keep in mind when supporting you during labor. When you're done with the Birth Plan Workshop, you'll be able to create a birth plan that helps you feel confident and that your provider actually wants to read.
Jaimie is a nurse, birth doula, lactation consultant, motherhood photographer, military wife and mother of three. Jaimie is dedicated to providing education and support to women who want to feel confident during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Jaimie supports has personal experience with cesarean birth, hospital VBAC with epidural, and unmedicated Homebirth (HBAC). Jaimie proudly serves families planning hospital births, home births, and has a special place in her heart for VBAC mamas. Jaimie provides in home lactation support, birth story documentation, and virtual birth plan consulting for women who want to feel truly prepared to mother confidently!
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Please remember that all information on this blog is purely informational and is not a substitute for individual support. Little Bear Services, LLC is not providing medical advice and all information on this website should be used as tools for communicating with your healthcare provider and IBCLC to determine the best plans for you and your baby. If you would like to schedule individual support you may do so here.
Jaimie Zaki, owner of Little Bear Services, LLC is a Birth Photographer, Labor Doula, & IBCLC serving families in South Jersey and Central New Jersey. Mother of three, military wife, and lover of coffee, Jaimie enthusiastically supports hospital and home births in Burlington County, Camden County, Mercer County, Atlantic County, Ocean County in New Jersey. If you reside outside of this service area, there are online courses and virtual support packages available! Jaimie is excited to serve your family! Learn more about Jaimie and the services she offers now!
Keywords: Birth Plan, Writing your birth plan, birth plan template, free childbirth prep, online childbirth classes, labor options, birth preferences, birth planning consult, birth doula, hospital birth, home birth, natural birth plan