Make your wishes known but try to be flexible.
Write a birth plan, but not in stone. According to new guidelines from England, birth plans are a great way to determine what you want in labor, but once you're in its throes, it's communication that will promote a healthy outcome. Even if your plan isn't followed to the letter, delivery will be satisfying as long as your wishes are acknowledged. "Talk to your caregivers about your expectations and ask them to communicate with you as labor progresses," says obstetrician Karen Nordahl, M.D., a co-author of Fit to Deliver (Hartley & Marks), who reviewed the guidelines. "Then go with the flow. Childbirth is one part of life we cannot fully control."