Pregnancy All-in-One For Dummies
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Plenty of mothers-to-be are intimidated at the thought of considering the pros and cons of a medical procedure — especially if they then decide to go against their medical practitioner's protocols or routines. If you feel unqualified to make decisions about childbirth, the good news is you're not the first person to confront all these choices, and you don't have to make them on your own.

Educate yourself about birth plan options

If you want to make decisions about your birth plan, medical training is not required! You can get the information you need to make informed choices by taking childbirth-education classes and researching birth on your own. Childbirth-education classes aren't only about teaching natural childbirth methods, though most encourage natural labor and spend a great deal of time on comfort techniques.

The rest of class time is spent talking about the mechanics of normal childbirth and the pros and cons of various interventions. Your education doesn't have to stop there. Reading about birth in books and doing online research can help you write your birth plan.

Consult more experienced parents, professionals, and educators

Here's more good news about writing your birth plan: You don't have to do it alone! You can ask for advice from all the following people:
  • Your medical practitioner: Although your medical practitioner has his own concerns regarding your birth choices — including malpractice suits and sometimes his own convenience — he is still an excellent resource when you don't understand some issues or want more information.
  • Your childbirth educator: Most childbirth instructors are happy to help with birth questions and can even help you write your plan or be willing to read over what you've put together.
  • Your doula: Part of a doula's job is to help advocate for your birth choices, and that includes helping you with your birth plan. A doula can also give you inside information on local practitioners and birth locations, which can be a huge help.
  • Other experienced moms and dads: Anyone who has gone through childbirth can serve as a resource when you're creating your own plan. Friends and relatives can tell you what they wish they had done differently and what was just perfect. They may also be able to give feedback on local medical practitioners and birth locations; just be sure to ask why they liked a particular place or person. Remember that everyone visualizes the perfect birth differently and that everyone's circumstances are different.

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