It’s impossible to plan every minute detail of your birth. Any body process as complex as birth is going to have some unpredictable moments – but that’s just where a birth plan can help. It is possible that some things can go wrong during labor, even things you don’t plan for. But once you have a healthy understanding that there are some things that even your plan can’t cover, making a birth plan can prove very helpful for pregnant women. Here are some of the benefits.
It’s Up To You
A birth plan can be highly individualized. You may only have a few key points you want covered (no pain relief, no episiotomy, etc.), or you may be more detailed (no visitors for a certain number of hours after the birth, an epidural after a limited number of hours in labor, etc.). The point is, the birth plan is yours, and reflects your level of comfort with interventions and care.
Your birth plan helps prepare you, your partner, and your care provider for your labor. Drawing up a birth plan requires research as to the nature of labor, birth, and various hospital practices. Preparing a birth plan can be very eye-opening for you, and prepares your care provider ahead of time for your wishes.
Your plan can “speak” for you at a time when decision-making can be very difficult. During labor, a woman is considered very vulnerable, and at certain points in labor, such as transition, a laboring woman’s mind is in a very unusual (and somewhat unpredictable) state. Therefore, a birth plan drawn up when you are thinking clearly can prove very helpful.
During labor in a hospital, various nurses, doctors, and other professionals may have a hand in your labor. A birth plan relieves you and your partner of having to re-explain how you want things to proceed, and it helps prevent misunderstandings between hospital personnel. If you are giving birth at home or in a birth center, a plan can still be helpful as a clarification for you and everyone involved.
Peace of Mind
Whether or not you feel relaxed and at peace can have a profound effect on your labor. If you are anxious, uncertain, and scared, it may affect your laboring body and cause things to go badly. If you know you have a birth plan that every relevant individual is aware of, it can help you feel calmer and better able to focus on labor and delivery.
In case things go wrong during labor, a birth plan can offer protection against unwanted interventions and provide for interventions that you do want.