Every venture worth its while, require planning. Pregnancy and birthing is probably one of the most special moments in a family and as such require dedicated planning. You will need to have an effective birth plan. As you approach term particularly from the 32nd week of you pregnancy, you should start setting up your individual birth plan towards birth readiness. The mistake many women make is that they start planning for their birth at the commencement of labour.
In birth readiness you should have a comprehensive list of what you intend to achieve for yourself, the baby and the entire family before the onset of labour and delivery. After labour and delivery, the baby will sap your attention to the extent that you may find yourself overwhelmed and disorganized. In your birth plan, the list that you make should include financial provision of what the baby and you will need for labour and delivery. Most maternity units already have a prepared list of things needed for labour and delivery and you should get one early enough to plan. The components of the list will vary depending on what the units actually provide and what they expect you to provide.
Another aspect of being birth prepared is to decide on the person you want to give you support in labour. It is important for you to ensure that he or she will be available at the time of delivery. Most women will want their husband to join and support them in labour others may prefer their mother or sister. Family support in labour has been shown by several studies to be associated with good outcome in labour. Some men may be too anxious or sometimes squeamish to join their partners in labour. This can be understandable but this should not be misunderstood as lack of support. I personally encourage men to join and encourage their wives in labour because in most cases it is very reassuring for them. My advice is that you should plan for two close relations of yours to give you support in labour. In a situation where it is not possible for one of them to join you in labour, the other will likely be around to join you in labour.
I encourage women to visit the labour ward on registration to familiarize themselves with the environment and see if it meets their expectation. Interaction with the labour ward staff will enable you have a rapport with them. While planning for birthing, you should be able to clear your mind on issues such as tears and episiotomy during labour , induced labour, augmented labour, use of instrument such as forceps and vacuum to facilitate deliveriy and caesarean section. This you can do by asking your care givers and labour ward staff questions prior to labour /delivery.
Adequate arrangement should be made for your transportation when your labour commences. The car you intended to use should be in good condition and easily accessible in case of emergency. Ensure that your car is not blocked by another car owned by a person who is not easily available whenever you park your car. If you do not have your personal car, arrange with a nearby neighbor or friend who can easily be reached in case there is an emergency.
All this transportation arrangement may not be necessary in developed countries because there are emergency ambulance services available to them on 24hours basis. In developing world this arrangement may be necessary where there is no ambulant service.
As parts of your birth plan, you should ensure that you are carried along in decision making during labour and delivery. Researchers are trying to strike a balance between the natural flow of labour and delivery and the over medicalization of labour and delivery. This balance is necessary because some woman believe that they should be allowed to take final decision on their birthing process, since labour is a natural event. I do not subscribe to this fully because there are certain decisions that the pregnant woman may not be able to take either because she does not know the full implication or she is not in the best state of mind to take the decision.
Another extreme opinion is that some believe that the doctors and midwives, being the caregivers should decide freely on issues relating to the pregnant woman. These decisions are taken without necessarily seeking her opinion. I certainly do not agree with this either. I stand in between the two opinions. That is women should be allowed to participate fully and decide in birthing options as much as it lies within the perimeter of safety. Safety for the mother and baby should be the guide. The doctor and midwife should decide on the balance of safety of mother and child while carrying the pregnant woman and her relatives along in decision making.