The Birth Plan
Writing a birth plan can be a great way to get your desires for your birth out and down on paper. Sometimes a really long intensive birth plan can also lead to expectations that everything is going to or must go exactly according to that plan, when in reality birth is unpredictable. It's great to have a plan, especially so that everyone on your birth team knows your wishes and desires for your birth experience. Here's a list of tips to keep in mind:
Be Flexible: Make it clear in your birth plan that you understand that sometimes things don't go according to plan and that you are open to discussing options if the need arises.
Keep it Brief: List only the things that are most important to you, your care providers are more likely to read your birth plan if it's short and to the point.
Make it Easy to Read: Avoid using small or fancy fonts, use bullets and leave some space. Printing on colored paper can help distinguish your birth plan from other papers in your file.
Make it Relevant: Find out your hospital policies ahead of time so that your birth plan reflects the things that are relevant. For example, if your hospital doesn't do routine enemas don't tell them you don't want one.
Personalize It: Attach a picture of you and your partner, if you've had other births touch on your experience and what you would like to avoid this time, use your names, or tell them what you are naming your baby. Make it fun and personal.
Say it with Food: Once again check your hospital policies on delivering treats, but if it is allowed, nurses (especially at the Chinook Regional Hospital) appreciate chocolate, or maybe even some fruit or cookies. They work hard on Labour and Delivery and it's nice to appreciate them too.
Solicit their Help: Doctors, Nurses and Midwives go into their profession because they truly want to help people. Sometimes they don't see normal birth, so they feel that interventions may truly be necessary or helpful. Ask them to help you avoid interventions that are not medically necessary. Working with them is always better then working against them.
Keep it Positive: Try to avoid negative phrases like "no or don't". Find a positive way to state you don't want something. For example: Instead of "No Pain Medication" try "I prefer to labour unmedicated, I would appreciate assistance in achieving this. I will ask for pain medication if I change my mind"
Keep it Simple: Simple statements are best. A simple statement of "I would like to keep my placenta" is better then a 3 page essay on placenta encapsulation.