A birth plan is a document that tells your health-care provider and the hospital staff:
• What kind of childbirth you would like.
• How you would like your baby cared for after he is born.
You can use this app to write your birth plan.
How to write a birth plan
Simple and short is best. It should be less than one page long. Try to be realistic and be aware that your childbirth will include your health-care team, yourself, your partner, the baby, and your family.
Your birth plan works best if you write down what you want and what you would prefer if things do not happen as you planned. For example, you may write, “I would prefer not to have an intravenous needle during labour. But if the staff think I need one for a clear medical reason, then I would agree to have one, but only if, and when, it is needed.”
When to write a birth plan
Most women write a birth plan after they talk over their childbirth plans with a health-care provider and once they know what their hospital offers in terms of routines and care. It’s also a good idea to discuss the plan with your partner and your family if they are going to be involved in some way.
However, it is your body, and your family needs to understand that you are the only one who can make some of the more personal decisions (pain control, for example).
Common things in a birth plan
We have listed some of the common things women include in their birth plans. You do not have to include all of them in your own birth plan. If something is not as important to you, you can leave it out. If you think of something else that is not on this list, feel free to include it.
A written birth plan also helps refresh your provider's memory when you're in labor. And it informs new members of your medical team — such as your labor-and-delivery nurse — about your preferences when you're in active labor.
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