Or should I call them birth preferences? Because as you'll probably find out at some point during parenthood, kids do what they want! All we can do is research, get prepared and go along for the ride!
A birth plan is simply a list of "yes's and no's" to certain procedures and options before, during and after birth.
But why should you have one? Firstly, communication with your birth team is right up there at the top of the list of imperatives. How would your provider, nurse and doula know that you're not so keen on IV's and prefer not to have one? Or maybe you've done research on pushing positions and really want to try hands and knees? Are you grossed out about skin-to-skin?
I think you'll agree that it's best to bring these things up before they're starting that IV, or you're on your back pushing and you think it's too late, or your squirmy baby is plopped on your belly, right?
Whatever your preferences are, write them down and share them with your provider at your visits. If you'll be seeing several providers in a practice, it's even more important to see each one and let them know of those preferences.
Your doula can help you form your birth preferences by providing you with evidence based information, advising you about options, procedures and what "usually happens" in certain situations.
However, it's important to know what options you have if you can't have everything that you desire for your birth.
What are some of the choices you'll have to make?
What are the alternatives?
Risks and benefits of procedures?
It's all about education and preparation. Parents who are well informed and supported are more likely to report a satisfying birth experience than those who aren't.