You don’t have to have a birth plan. But having one is a great idea! It helps things run much more smoothly when delivery day finally arrives. A birth plan is a set of instructions you make about your baby’s birth. It tells your health care provider how you feel about things like who you want with you during labor, what you want to do during labor, if you want an epidural, spinal block or narcotics for labor pain, and if there are special religious or cultural practices you want to have happen once your baby is born.
If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, fill out a birth plan with your partner. Here’s a handy list of questions to consider and answer together. Start discussing a plan with your provider at your first visit. If you disagree on important issues (vaginal birth after a c-section (VBAC) or not, natural methods or drug relief for childbirth pains…) you will have plenty of time to choose another provider, if necessary. And share your birth plan with the nurses at the hospital or birthing center where you plan to have your baby. Share it with your family and other support people, too. It’s best for everyone to know ahead of time how you want labor and birth to be.