Q. Should I have a delivery and birth plan?
Share your birth plan with your doctor, midwife, and/or doula. More important than the written plan, however, are the conversations you have with your nurse and delivery provider. Many women fear that they won't be able to articulate their needs in labor. If you speak up, you can get your point across, even between frequent contractions. Your partner or other trusted person who will be with you in labor can help you communicate.
Be prepared for the possibility that your preferences may change during labor, particularly if this is your first baby. Women who swear that they would never, ever consider using pain medication sometimes find themselves begging for it, and those who think they need medication may find they can get along fine without it.
Whether you have a birth plan or a mental image of ideal childbirth, a ready-for-everything attitude comes in handy during labor and delivery. It's reasonable to plan what you want ahead of time, but it's also important to be flexible.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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