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Creating a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a clear, simple, one-page statement of an expectant mother's preferences for her upcoming birth experience. Paper copies of a birth plan can be added to an expectant mother's medical records, and sent to the birth center or hospital.

The birth plan should include the mother-to-be's name and due date, and other demographic data. The plan should include the expectant mother's preferences during the stages of labor and delivery, including:

* fetal monitoring

* labor induction

* the positions that the mother wants to be in while in labor

* medical procedures if needed during labor

* episiotomy choices

* pain relief techniques or anesthesia

* breastfeeding

* who should be allowed in the delivery room

* circumcision choices

Benefits of a birth plan

A birth plan can inform health care providers about an expectant mother's desires during labor and delivery. And a plan can help an expectant mother to feel confident and in control, as much as that is possible. A birth plan also can help her be part of the decision-making process, even if occasional unexpected events occur.

Sample birth plan

Here is a sample birth plan. This is not necessarily the best one for you, but it gives you an idea of the kinds of questions a doula may help you to answer in a birth plan.

What is a doula?
A woman trained in childbirth who provides advice, info, and emotional support to a mother and family before, during, and after childbirth.

Birthing from within book
Something a little different! This book is a collection of methods used by participants in a series of birthing classes by Pam England aimed at helping mothers celebrate the spiritual, emotional, and psychological aspects of birth as a rite of passage. "Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation."Pregnancy & Childbirth Books).

Recommended Reading

Many women find having their own copy of a book nearby during labour can put many fears to rest. We have chosen to recommend a book written by Rachel Gurevich entitled " The Doula Advantage: Your Complete Guide to Having an Empowered and Positive Birth with the Help of a Professional Childbirth Assistant." Pregnancy & Childbirth Books)