Birth plans have been around for over 3 decades. When I began my career in obstetrics I quickly realized how important a tool like the birth plan could become. My experience has taught me that successful use of a birth plan will always include sharing information, open discussion and mutual respect.
Over the years I have witnessed the evolution of the birth plan into an interactive information sharing tool rather than a one-sided directive. When the birth plan is used to share information and discuss options, labor and delivery expectations can be met in real-time. I have found that we can communicate better and achieve an experience that respects patient values.
Share Decision Making
Your care provider and labor and delivery team can be a great help in bringing your plan into reality. Include these valuable team resources in your planning process as soon as possible. Talk over all of the details early and as they develop in the pregnancy. Then as the pregnancy progresses, discuss how the plan should change.
Decide What You Need
Birth can be very dynamic and things can change quickly. Knowing what alternatives may need to be considered is paramount to providing flexibility to achieve the best possible outcome. Prior to labor, talk to your provider and labor partners about what you need to hear to help you quickly understand that the situation has turned dangerous and that the plan must change.
Know Your Medical History
Your care provider considers how any ongoing health conditions may affect your plan. Do the same by researching the role your health history can play in labor and delivery. Respect what your care provider adds to the plan. This is done in consideration of your individual health and pregnancy risks.
Protect Your Golden Hour
Consider the first 60 – 90 minutes after delivery as the Golden Hour for your new family. You, your baby, and you partner need time alone for bonding, to keep skin to skin and for nursing. Protect this priceless time by inviting family and friends to visit after your Golden Hour.
Brittney Baird 2017