Here's When You Should Make Your Birth Plan

When I was pregnant with my babies, I turned into an obsessive compulsive planner. From sleeping logistics to baby wardrobe choices, I planned everything. What I learned from my first pregnancy was the importance of having a specific birth plan in place, too. If you're pregnant, and beginning to plan for your new life, you might wonder, when should I make a birth plan?

Still not sure what a birth plan actually is? According to the American Pregnancy Association, a birth plan is a list of preferences you provide to your family and healthcare providers, and it outlines what you need and expect for your child's birth and labor. It's suggested that you come up with a plan sooner, rather than later in your pregnancy, because of the complexity involved in planning for your baby's birth day.

There are things you can put in your birth plan that you know early on in your pregnancy, and you'll want to inform the hospital staff about them. For example, you may have religious or cultural practices that you need performed before or after the birth of your baby, and you might already know the names of people you want in the labor room with you. These are good items to start listing on your birth plan, and you can do them early on.

Other factors may arise during your pregnancy that you can research, analyze, and then add to your birth plan as your pregnancy progresses. Your healthcare provider can also talk to you about your options and what decisions you need to make before the big moment.

But keep in mind, there is no exact science to writing a birth plan, because every woman and every pregnancy is different, explained What to Expect. And birth plans can be really simple or super detailed, depending on the situation. Pregnancy can also be unpredictable, so plan what you can, according to what you want and need, keeping in mind that pregnancy and delivery can be complicated, and things can change at any time.

Starting your birth planning early can give you time to assess your choices, research your options, and coordinate your needs. The earlier you prepare for the big day, the better, and getting the birth plan out of the way will give you more time to plan for the other million things you have in mind.