Most careproviders plan an extra long session around 36 weeks to talk with you about the imminent birth. A birth plan is a document that tells your midwife or doctor and the hospital staff what kind of childbirth you would like. Many hospitals now have a draft birth plan for you to use. 

It is a tool you can use to help the team to work together, but it will remain only a tool. You will still need to talk with your midwife or ob, discussing your options and decisions.

Simple and short is best. It should be less than one page long. Try to be realistic and be aware that your childbirth will include your health-care team, yourself, your partner, the baby, and your family. Your birth plan works best if you write down what you want and what you would prefer if things do not happen as you planned. For example, you may write, “I want every intervention explained to me”. That goes without saying.

But having the dogs with you in the bedroom while giving birth is something to discuss with your midwife.

Be realistic: a waterbirth in a candlelit room is fine at home, but candles are strictly forbidden in a hospital. You can’t take the dogs there either, but you are welcome to bring your own music.

Things that you can specify in a Birth Plan: Where would you like to give birth? How do you hope to give birth? If it is not your first baby, what did you like and what not the last time? What are your ideas about pain relief? Are you going to breastfeed or bottlefeed? Do you have any other requests that you want to share? See also discussion points. Write it down, print it and take it with you to discuss it.