A birth plan is the perfect way to let midwives and doctors who will be caring for you during labour to know how you would like your birth to go. This can include things like preferences on pain relief, positions in labour and things you would like to avoid.
It’s a great way to be organised and remove some of the stress and worry one may have about giving birth. It’s also vital to know that this plan is not set in stone as giving birth isn’t always as straightforward as what you see on TV. Saying this, it’s always best practice to make sure the birth plan is flexible so it gives midwives and doctors an opportunity to step in when needed. There’s no rule that you can’t change the plan before or during labour. It’s also a great idea to see what options are available at your hospital or birth centre and take this into account when writing your plan.
Here are just a few things that you may want to include in your birth plan:
Positions for Labour and Birth
This is where you may have preference for certain positions during labour and your baby’s birth. This can also include how active you may want to be, being relaxed and as comfortable you can be, but it always good to note that you may find a different way may work on the day, so always go with what you feel comfortable with.
Here, you would note down who you’d like to be with during labour and the birth of your baby. This can range from the person being there for the whole birth, to just being there at different stages. It’s also best to not down if you’d want this person to be there if you need an assisted birth or C-Section.
This is a very important part of your birth plan that should always be included. This is where you explain what kind of pain relief you would like to use and in what order for example a maternity TENS machine during the early stages. You can also note down any natural pain relief methods like breathing techniques and massages.
Location of Birth
Hospital birth or a home birth? If you opt for a home birth, it’s best to double check with your midwife that they would be happy to be there.
You can suggest how you would want your first interaction with your baby to be dealt with. You could ask to have your baby place directly on you, straight after birth or you may prefer for your baby to be cleaned up before being placed on you. You can find out more information about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact on our previous post by clicking here
Other things to consider are birth balls, wall bars, beanbags, mats etc for use during labour. You can find out if your hospital provides these types of equipment. These may come in handy at some point during labour so it’s always worth noting down if you’d want to have these on hand.
Your birth plan is also the perfect place to note down whether you want to find out the sex of your baby if you don’t know already. This can be done straight away or be left for you to find out. You can also mention if you want a specific person to cut the cord or the midwife and how you would want the third stage of labour to be dealt with. The third stage of labour is essentially giving birth to the placenta which can be done in its own time or by taking drugs to make it come out quicker.
After writing your birth plan, show it to your midwife who will go through it with you and answer and questions you may have to make sure they are able to give you everything you have requested. Always remember that it’s not set in stone and any changes that may happen will always be for the best.