As your due date approaches, there's tons of decisions to make.
Preferences for your baby's birth and how to organize these into your birth plan is a big first step. Although the terms birth plan and birth preferences are often used interchangeably, they're very different steps of the planning process.
It's equally as important for parents to know what to expect from their birth experience and for their birth team to be in tune with the expectations of the family.
Identifying your preferences can help you feel more empowered through your pregnancy and banish insecurities and anxieties before the big day.
Aside from the basics like who, what, where, your birth preferences also outline factors that make you feel more comfortable. Pain management options are an important preference to consider and other comfort measures through your labor transitions. Think about some of the things that might help you relax and feel more focused on the task at hand.
Your preferences can reflect your parenting styles, religious traditions, or even holistic alternatives. It's important to stay on the same page as your care provider or midwife to understand more about what techniques are safest for you and your baby.
When you identify your labor and delivery preferences, you'll know exactly what to expect long before you have a single contraction.
Think of your birth plan as an itinerary for your birth. After communicating with your hospital or birth center staff and providers, your birth preferences are organized on an easy to follow plan that helps you keep a document that keeps everyone on the same page on the big day. While this plan is important, it's also important to remember that flexibility is key. Birth can be unpredictable and when you have different options lined up, there's always a plan B if you change your mind along the way or your doctor makes a medical recommendation.
There's no need to overthink your plan and it's actually better to keep things simple and easy for everyone to follow. When your birth plan is strong, short and sweet you can be sure that you have all the information you need about what options are available to you and your family.
Outlining your preferences in an organized birth plan gives parents the peace of mind they need to feel in control.
Preparing for birth doesn't have to be stressful.