Many women ask the question, "When is the best time to discuss my birth plan with my care provider?"
The answer is always "NOW."
Your care provider is the one providing the care for your pregnancy and birth. Before signing on as their client, whether they are a doctor or a midwife, you should feel comfortable and confident that the options and choices you have in your birth plan will be available to you. This can only happen when the lines of communication are open and flowing. Waiting to discuss your choices until later in your pregnancy is not a recommended decision.
When choosing a care provider, bring your birth plan. If you do not have a plan yet, bring a list of things that you want to discuss and know more about for your pregnancy and birth. These lists should be part of the decision for any family. A mother and father have the right to decide the care they will receive, and most providers are open and willing to listen and discuss your options. If something in your birth plan is extremely important to you, like the ability to eat while you are birthing or having the freedom to change positions, and your provider is against it, you can make the decision to drop your birth plan or choose another provider.
Problems arise when communication shuts down, on either side. Your provider should be open with you about the services they offer, and you should be open with them about the choices you are making. No one likes surprises or having the rug jerked out from under them.
Once a doctor or midwife has been chosen, a mother should have that person sign her birth plan and make copies both for her file and to bring during her birthing time. Then there is no question as to what has been discussed and agreed upon and what she is expecting.
Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial to building trust, both on the provider's side and the client's side. A wonderful birth experience awaits when a mother is confident not only in her body and her baby, but also in the person she has chosen to be her caregiver and her provider.