So you're about to become a new parent and are considering your birthing options. Whether this is your first child or your fourth, taking the time to build the perfect birth plan can help make the labor and birth processes as focused on what's important to you as possible. Relieve some of the stress of this exciting and scary time with these birth plan tips.

Birth Plan Basics

One of the best places to start when creating your birth plan is making a list of the most important elements of your labor and delivery to you and your partner. You might hope to give birth at home, want a specific person present during the birth, prefer a hospital birth, or want to work closely with a midwife or doula.

Knowing where you plan to give birth is a great start. Then note down anything else that you'd rather not do without on that day.

family expecting baby, making checklist of necessities before labor Prostock-Studio / Getty Images


Communicate With Professionals

Regardless of where you plan to give birth, it's a good idea to begin having conversations with healthcare professionals early. Once you know where you'll likely be going when you go into labor and which doctor is most likely going to deliver you, weigh the pros and cons of things like medication and your other options for preparing for the birth with the medical team.

By being honest and transparent with the people who will play a big role in that eventful day, you'll be one step closer to a birth experience that feels most comfortable.

pregnant couple talking to doctor Vesnaandjic / Getty Images


Be Flexible

Almost no pregnancy or birth goes exactly how it was planned. Being flexible with decisions you've made and even coming up with alternative plans in the event of an emergency or if your baby comes at an unexpected time will make the birthing process smoother.

If you plan on having a home birth, for example, and will be working with a midwife, it's a good idea to have conversations about what you'll do in the event the baby is breech or another situation arises that needs a higher level of medical attention.

pregnant couple using laptop mihailomilovanovic / Getty Images


Consider Compromises

As you work on your birth plan throughout your pregnancy, keep in mind the preferences of your partner or the other people who will be with you on that day. Of course, you're the one giving birth and your comfort is the most vital. But maybe they want to cut the cord — or really don't want to cut the cord. Work together to come up with a plan that takes everyone's main preferences into consideration as much as possible.

Excited friend touching belly bump of pregnant woman Ridofranz / Getty Images


Weigh Pros and Cons of Pain Medications

The facts around receiving pain medication before giving birth can be overwhelming, and everyone has an opinion on it. Consider having an honest conversation either with a doctor you trust or a friend with experience in the birthing process. This is one of those things you can't always change your mind about in the last minute, so don't be afraid to get into the nitty gritty of it beforehand so you feel as secure as possible in the option you choose.

doctor meeting with pregnant woman Fly View Productions / Getty Images


Decisions for After Birth Care

Every birth plan should include decisions for right after the baby is born. For example, you'll want to decide whether your newborn son will be circumcised. You'll also want to let your doctor know if your baby will be staying with you in your room or going to a newborn unit on the first night after delivery. Again, unexpected situations can force you to change these plans, so think about your backups, as well.

close up face of first day newborn in hospital delivery room suriyasilsaksom / Getty Images


Bring Your Personality to Delivery

If you plan to have your baby in the hospital or a birthing center, one way to make your birth special is to bring items that make you feel at home. Your favorite music, a comfortable pillow, or an item that makes you smile for a focal point while you and the doctors deliver the baby are great items to pack in your hospital go bag. Speaking of which, you'll want to have that go bag packed and ready a few weeks or even months before the due date!

pregnant woman organizing bag Trendsetter Images / Getty Images


Utilize Natural Support Systems

As you work on your birth plan, make a list of the people in your life who can help you with daily tasks or with watching older children while you make the transition from pregnancy to the parent of an infant.

Accepting help from friends and family in the form of meals and babysitting will help make this transition more memorable and assist in your recovery from labor and delivery, but don't feel pressured into interactions you may not be comfortable with, either. Making your expectations clear to interested family members beforehand can help mitigate any frustrating interactions later.

Grandmother consoling her baby granddaughter Milan_Jovic / Getty Images


Change Your Mind

Remember that your birth plan is fluid. Not only do you need to be ready for the unexpected, but it's also just fine to change your mind and your plan along the way. Bring your plan with you to each appointment, and update your healthcare team of any changes you've made as you go.

You might change your mind as your pregnancy advances, as you read various research and talk to different people. Keeping your plan up to date will help keep everyone on the same page.

Pregnant woman making a list what to do StefaNikolic / Getty Images


Trust the Process

Labor and delivery is an important, personal event for any new mom and should always reflect her preferences and needs. At the same time, having a baby can come with surprises. Being open-minded and flexible with changes as they come will ensure a better experience.

In the end, what matters most is having a healthy outcome for both the mother and baby. Once you have your birth plan sorted out, try to relax and do what you can to trust the process, as hard as that sounds.

Mother breastfeeding newborn baby in hospital ward isayildiz / Getty Images


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