Because we're all different, there's no such thing as a 'perfect birth', but being at the centre of decision-making means that you can look back on your experience positively, no matter what path your baby's birth takes...
Healthcare professionals will make suggestions about your care during pregnancy and birth, based on local guidelines. To help you make informed choices, remember to ask questions based on the BRAINS acronym (a staple of childbirth preparation classes all over the world):
B - what are the benefits?
R - what are the risks?
A - are there any alternatives?
I - (think) what is our instinct telling us?
N - what happens if we do nothing?
S - smile - keep the space positive
A birth choices document is invaluable in helping you to communicate with your caregivers... This is your voice at a time when you might not wish to speak a great deal.
The examples below may hopefully give you an idea of the language, layout etc. There are no 'right' or 'wrong' choices, just your choices. The names are made up. Feel free to copy verbatim or edit / adapt. File a copy in your maternity notes, and make sure birth partners have extra copies to hand.
Tip - it's more likely to be read and understood if you keep it simple!
The importance of open-mindedness...
It's definitely important to identify and prepare for your plan A birth scenario, but be prepared for plan B and C too, practically and emotionally - knowing that no matter how your baby is born, you can stay calm and in control, no matter what.
If you're particularly frightened about a specific scenario (for example caesarean birth, or an assisted / unassisted birth), perhaps take yourself into hypnosis by simply closing your eyes, breathing deeply, relaxing your body, and imagine that situation happening as if you were a passive observer. See yourself coping calmly, maintaining control and having a positive experience. Repeat this exposure technique regularly until you are not frightened of that possibility any more. For you, this affirmation can be very relevant:
"I accept whatever path my baby's birth takes, with confidence"
In an ironic way, being completely unafraid about ANY possible birth scenario (releasing that tension) makes it more likely that your chosen plan A will happen anyway! Do check out our positive hypno-caesarean and hypno-induction stories :)