Just some articles I found on safest ways to deliver your baby.
Everything you need to know about birth plans:
How to research hospital procedures:
Start with a tour of L&D very early in your pregnancy. Take your copy of what you printed out and ask lots of questions about what procedures they routinely do. Make notes and write down any unanswered questions for later research and to ask your doctor. Ask friends that you know have delivered there what their experience was like, even if they have a different outlook on birth then you have. Ask if there are any nurses that especially like attending a natural, med-free birth, and write their names down.
Next, read The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birthby Henci Goer. You should consider this mandatory reading when planning a hospital birth. This book goes through many different hospital procedures and policies. It is an excellent reference book and has an index in the back. Another suggestion is Born in the USA by Dr. Marsden Wagner. In each of these books, there are loads of other suggestions in the back for further reading. One last must-have resource is ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network): http://www.ican-online.org/ There is also a list of resources on this board as well.
Do not only ask questions to your doctor. Allow your doctors answers to be validated by your own research. If they are not, then you can switch providers at any time in your pregnancy. Really, you can.
Keep in mind that even if you feel comfortable with the way your doctor handles labor and birth, there is no guarantee that you will have her when you go into labor. You really are at the whim of the L&D nurses. Usually the doctor is only there to catch the baby. Also, you might be with a doctor that you have never met before simply because they are on call.
Making the actual birth plan:
Use language that makes it clear you are in charge. Be aware that you are paying them for a service, and that you are in charge of your own body, as well as your baby's.
Do not use the phrase "Please allow....." or "We request that..." or other similar phrases that puts you in an inferior position. You should use phrases such as "I will..." or "I do not consent..." That may be hard to do, as we do not want to offend anyone, but actually being short and to the point makes your message clear.
Keep it simple:
Although the site I mentioned has a lot of options, your final draft needs to be only one page, bullet/list format. Go over the final draft with your practitioner and have them sign it. Mine was longer then one page, however, I put all the normal stuff on the front, and the emergency c-section stuff on the back. You should have several copies that go with you to the delivery. Your rough draft is more for informational purposes that you use as a guide to ask questions, find out what you are most concerned about and to see if your doctor and hospital are compatible to you.
I want to help you!
I am willing to answer any questions you may have regarding birth plans. Feel free to ask any questions or even post your birth plan and I will review it. Others are welcome to comment as well. If for some reason you do not get a response, please send me a pm.
One last tip:
A doula is included in the following sample plan for a reason. She is a person that knows the ins and outs of the hospital culture, and can help you and your partner stick to your birth plan, as well as inform you of things that you may not be aware of during labor. She also is trained to help you deal with pain natually and acheive a natural birth. I, as well as many other women, feel that a hosptial birth NEEDS to have a birth plan AND a doula, even if you have a C.N.M.