What is a Birth Plan?
A Birth Plan identifies what options for care, support, and comfort a mother wants in place during the delivery of her baby. It covers a wide range of possibilities, such as what comforts the mother wants and what medical interventions she will permit.
A Birth Plan can also outline who is or is not allowed into the room during the birth experience so that the laboring mother-to-be does not end up having to make these decisions at the last minute. Planning in advance helps birth teams know exactly what mom's wishes are, so they can keep her as comfortable and secure as possible during delivery.
Birth Plans are not legally binding documents. If a mother's medical team believes interventions are needed, they may have the right to overrule the plan. For most mothers, however, the Birth Plan can be followed as long as the mother is comfortable with the plan through the labor process.
Knowing where to start with a Birth Plan is sometimes difficult. The Rocket Lawyer Birth Plan document can help walk you through the process so that you can make a plan that perfectly fits your goals.
Are Birth Plans necessary?
A Birth Plan gives a new mom an opportunity to state her wishes before labor begins, but it is not legally or medically required. It can help medical providers and birth teams, including doctors, nurses, the mother's partner, and other family members stick with what the mother wants, even while her energy is focused on labor and delivery.
What should I write in my Birth Plan?
There are a lot of preferences and intentions you can include in your Birth Plan:
Labor preferences — Do you want to labor in water or have the option to walk around freely during the process? Identifying these preferences will help your nurse or your partner suggest things that might make labor more comfortable.
Pain medication — If you have strong opinions about the use of pain medications and interventions, you may want to include these in your plan.
Atmosphere — Set the stage for a peaceful delivery by addressing things like music, lights, and other features in the room that will help you relax.
People — Who do you want in the room providing support? You may not have control over which medical providers attend the birth, but you can generally stipulate what support people or family members are there.
Delivery — If you have preferences about using a mirror to watch the birth or having an episiotomy, say so in your plan. Again, your medical care will dictate which preferences are followed, but if all is going according to plan, you can expect them to be considered.
Feeding and care — What are your plans for feeding your baby post-birth? Do you have strong preferences about the use of bottles or pacifiers? Do you want your baby to room with you or in the hospital nursery, if allowed. Do you want your male baby to be circumcised? By answering these questions beforehand and including them in your plan, you will avoid having to answer them while you are trying to recover.
When should I start making a Birth Plan?
Around the second trimester is a great time to start thinking about the Birth Plan. Start writing it around weeks 32 through 36, as some babies arrive early. Early preparations will help you get everything in place for your delivery, even if your little one decides to enter the world earlier than anticipated.
Get All the Help You Need for the Big Day
A Birth Plan can give you peace of mind as you prepare to deliver your baby. Take some time to think through what you want.
In addition to making your Birth Plan, be sure you have other documents in place to help you before labor begins. A Healthcare Power Of Attorney will designate a person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. A Hospital Visitation Authorization lists who is allowed to visit you and your baby while you are recovering in the hospital. These documents can be helpful additions to your plan and should be given to your medical care providers. Reach out to a Rocket Lawyer network attorney for affordable services and answers to legal questions specific to your particular situation.
This article contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Rocket Lawyer is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.