What is a Birth Plan?
According to the American Pregnancy Association a birth plan is "... a simple, clear, one-page statement of your preferences for the birth of your child." A birth plan is meant to make your plans as clear and concise as possible.
Types of Birth Plans
Visual Birth Plan- Visual birth plans are very simple and concise. They grab your attention to the important topics quickly. Think about some of your favorite infographics. They are easy to read and the author can draw your eyes quickly to the most important things by making things bigger, bolder print, brighter pictures, or changing the color. These are great for people with birth plans that are pretty generalized but you still have specific desires you wish to express.
Written Birth Plan- Written birth plans are great when you have a detailed birth plan or something a little more specific. For example, instead of "would prefer dimmed lighting" you would like it to say "would prefer dimmed lighting until pushing where I would prefer bright lighting so that I am able to use a mirror and see the baby". Written plans are also great for expressing gratitude and respect to your care providers.
Topics Everyone Should Include
Have Group B Strep
Rh compatibility/incompatibility with baby
Other Possible Topics to Include
Who do you want to be present?
Are you having a labor coach or doula?
Prefer music and talking or quiet and serene?
How comfortable are you with vaginal exams?
Will there be birth photography taken?
Delayed cord clamping?
Immediate skin to skin contact?
Breastfeeding immediately after?
Mobility or stay in bed?
What will you be using for pain relief?
Are you willing to have an episiotomy?
Do you want to use a tub or shower?
What are your plans for hospital transport (home birth/birthing center)
Do you have special requests for a cesarean?
Do you plan to use a tub or shower?
Are you saving the placenta?
Circumcision if having a boy?
Will you be vaccinating? Which ones?
Please don't give my baby pacifier, formula, sugar water etc.
Delayed First bath?
Do you want to be present at the babies first bath?
Would you like the guidance of a lactation consultant?
How often would you like the baby to stay with you? (during the day, when you're awake, at all times)
Remember that birth plans may have to change. AND THAT IS OK! Just like at a job, or in church, or with your family things do not always go according to your plans so you must be ready and able to adjust your goals accordingly with a positive attitude. Included below is a video that talks about the bullet points listed above and also preparing yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually for a birth plan to change.