Labor and delivery are sometimes calm and comfortable, but there are times when you might feel anxious and afraid. Your ability to communicate with your care provider is paramount to the safety of you and your unborn child.
A birth plan gives you a place to discuss expectations and provide context for how you want the birth to be. However, having a plan does not necessarily mean nothing unexpected will happen along the way.
Understanding a birth plan
A well-rounded birth plan will discuss several objectives including the following:
- Personal preferences
- Labor position
- Pain management
- Supporting parties
If you anticipate having a birth plan, you might want to start one at the beginning of your pregnancy. This will give you time to modify your plan and find an arrangement you feel the most comfortable with.
Anticipating the unexpected
Despite your plan, there are always factors that could disrupt labor and delivery. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should discuss your birth plan with your OB-GYN prior to your delivery date.
While you must anticipate the unexpected, if your provider ignores your requests, it could increase the risk of a birth injury happening. You have the right to take legal action against a provider who acts negligently and causes injury to you or your child. If this happens, the outcome could have a life-changing impact that requires ongoing medical treatment. Having a birth plan and disclosing your expectations may give more incentive to your provider to give thorough care.