How to Write Your Birth Plan

Step 1: Write birth plan. Step 2: Give birth plan to doctor. Step 3: Deliver baby as outlined in birth plan. Simple, right? Um, not quite.
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Updated April 28, 2017
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What makes a successful birth plan? We got the inside scoop from Keith Eddleman, MD, division director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, on how you can talk with your doctor and create a birth plan that truly works.

Talk and listen

Remember, you and your doctor are on the same team, and both of you need to be on board with the plan. Schedule a time to sit down and discuss the plan well before your due date. “Most doctors will be happy to give their reasoning and explain why they want to do certain things,” Eddleman says. “Then, based on your own reasons, you can accept or reject their recommendations.”

Something that you’re totally against at first, such as getting an IV, might not sound so bad once your doctor has explained all the benefits (and the alternatives). In other words, you need to know where your doctor is coming from before you decide to disagree.

Write it early

Like, yesterday. This one is especially important if any of your requests are controversial or a little bit unusual. “If you find there are any points of disagreement between what you want and what your provider or institution says, you don’t want to wait until the very last minute,” Eddleman says. If you and your doctor discover that you simply can’t come to an agreement, you may need to find someone else to deliver baby. (This same idea should apply to your hospital if your plan happens to contradict its policies.) The key to all of this is to remember that you’ve got tons of options…as long as you start planning early.

Trust your doctor

Sorry, control freaks. When it comes time to deliver, you’ll need to rely on your doctor to call the shots, no matter how detailed your plan is. Not comfortable with this? “If you don’t think you can trust your doctor enough to allow them to manage your labor and delivery, you need to see someone else,” Eddleman says. Remember, the two of you have had nine (long) months to get to know each other. If you’ve been satisfied with your doctor’s care so far, there’s no reason to doubt them. “I’m here to protect your life, not to torture you,” Eddleman says. “My ultimate goal is for you and baby to have the safest experience and outcome possible.”

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