Now let's get one thing straight. We shouldn't call them birth plans. They can be called birth visions, birth wishes, birth frameworks, you get the point. The idea is that you know your options for a safe and healthy birth and you are informed in all of the decisions you might have to take to get there. It means preparing your body, home, relationship, mind, and soul for a very arduous journey. It means making sure you know your options so that when things go according to "plan" you can react, and when they deviate from plan you can also react. I say react and not act, because you are listening to your baby and your body through the both process.
No plan is ever foolproof. That’s why we hear about plan B, and plan C and so on. Another reason why we should create our birth plans with variations in mind. Minor and major changes to the plan can happen, so being open to that is the best thing you can do for yourself. Being flexible enough to roll with the cards you are dealt will help you adjust and move forward. I push education of all options so that when a birth plan has not manifested itself perfectly, we can adapt.
I think it's a great idea to write birth plans. (I think it's also a great idea to make prenatal plans, and postpartum plans too - but more on that another time.) I have broken down a few reasons why I think it’s a good idea to write a birth plan. Even if you don’t take it with you to your birth locale, even if you don’t follow through with it, even if you change your mind on half of the decisions.
Now take note, pregnancy is usually the first real encounter a healthy woman has with the healthcare system in her lifetime. It is daunting and sometimes tough to navigate. Do not be discouraged if you find it all to be too much. With a doula, the proper education, and a great healthcare team, you can be well on your way to obtaining optimum care.
1. Canadian Medical Protective Association - CMPA Good Practices Guide