Your birth plan is your way of communicating the type of birth you would like, to your birth partner and healthcare provider. During labour, you may not be at your most communicative, so the birth plan will act as a reminder of your wishes. You may find it useful to write your birth plan with the assistance of your healthcare provider, as this will give you the chance to ask questions.
The best time to write a birth plan is once you are armed with information. This might be straight after an antenatal class, or a meeting with your healthcare provider, or simply an evening spent on the internet. Make sure you have fully researched all of your options before settling on any decisions.
What should be in my birth plan?
Your birth plan should cover a number of important topics, including:
- Birth partner – who is your birth partner(s)? Will they be present for the entire process?
- Location – will you give birth at home, in a midwife lead centre or in a hospital delivery suite?
- Type of birth – do you want an active birth with the use of a birthing ball or rope to pull on, or would you prefer a water birth?
- Pain relief – research this topic carefully before making any decisions. Would you prefer to have a natural birth or an epidural? There are lots of different pain relief options available.
- Interventions – would you rather avoid the use of interventions such as induction or episiotomy, or are you happy following your healthcare provider’s wishes on the day?
- Special needs – is there anything your healthcare provider should be aware of? For example, have you experienced pelvic girdle pain during the pregnancy, or have you previously struggled with postnatal depression?
- Baby – do you want to have immediate skin to skin with your baby? Would you like to hold the baby for a set amount of time before anyone else gets a cuddle?
- Third stage – would you like a natural or managed third stage? Do you want Daddy to cut the umbilical cord, or would you prefer to leave it attached until the blood has finished pumping through it?
- Feeding – do you plan to breastfeed? Would you like assistance and support to help you with this process?
Once you have researched and answered the above questions, you can start writing your birth plan. This will help your healthcare provider to best meet your needs on the day of the birth. Talk through your choices with your birth partner – it may come down to him or her on the day because you’ll be otherwise engaged!
Most importantly, remember that this is just a plan of how you would ideally like to give birth, it is not a guarantee. Your healthcare provider will try their best to offer you the birth you want, but it is not always possible. If, on the day, things do not go the way you planned, try not to worry. Focus on the task in hand, and remember, it will all be worth it when you are holding your baby for the first time.
Need help writing a birth plan? Consider using our Pregnancy App to plan.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.