I had never heard of a birth plan until I got pregnant myself and was reading up on everything I needed to get ready for my son’s birth. Personally, I think it’s a great idea, if used the right way. I’ll give you my own personal experience with it.
When I first made the plan, I looked up a whole bunch of sample ones online to see what kind of information I needed to include on there. I think my list covers pretty much everything so feel free to use it as a guide. I found a few blank templates online as well, but none that included all the info I needed, so I ended up making my own (I had time to kill, clearly 🙂 )
My first draft was 5 pages long….let’s just say even I, myself, knew I had to revise it and make it shorter…a lot shorter! When you make your list keep in mind that you are going to give this to nurses and doctors so they know how to proceed with you. But don’t forget that while they’ll be taking care of you, there are at least 5 more patients they are looking after as well. So the goal is to make it as succinct as possible and short enough to where they are willing to read all of it. Imagine if you were a nurse, rushing and someone hands you pages and pages of “instructions” on what they prefer for their hospital stay. Maybe you’re better than me, but I would be annoyed having to read it all and most likely wouldn’t remember much of it. So I shortened my list and got it down to 2 pages.
My recommendation would also be to make it a bulletin style type of plan. It is easier to read. At first I had these long paragraphs, then I thought “who am I kidding! I don’t even want to read this myself, let alone them” so I switched it to bulletins. “Huge help” my nurse said when she saw it!
Make at least 5 copies of it. Tape one on the door of your hospital room for anyone to see when they come in (nurses change shifts, or even forget when they go from room to room), and the other 4 hand them to whomever is taking care of you.
And lastly, you have to realize that this is just a guideline. Do not expect to have everything happen as you plan or wish. I know this better than anyone, because I truly have a problem accepting it when things just don’t go as I had planned. I get upset, I lose my cool, and then I feel weird and just not at peace. This is something I am working on daily. But please be prepared now and know that at least one thing won’t go the way you had originally thought it would…and guess what? It will be OKAY! The goal here is to come out healthy and happy with a beautiful baby 🙂
Here’s my birth plan:
Hope this helps!
(PS. Depending on the hospital/doctor/nurse some of the things on your list they may not agree to. Check with their policies. More often than not you have the right to choose whatever it is that you are asking for. If they say no, it’s because they simply don’t like to get out of their routine way of doing things…but not because you aren’t allowed to by law. So put your foot down on things that matter to you. I had to when it came to Vitamin K and the shots. They tried telling me it was mandatory until I pulled up their entire policy and proved them wrong. Do not let others pressure you either. I recommend you do your research before you decide to choose anything; and once you do, stick to it. Only YOU know what’s best for your child. I promise).