Do I need a birth plan?
29 04 2013 • Mama Mio
While it’s worth bearing in mind that births don’t always go to plan, it’s helpful to write down your preferences so that you, your partner, your midwife or doctor can see what you’d ideally like to happen when the big day arrives.
“So what is a birth plan, exactly?”
It’s a handy way of putting all your wishes about your baby’s birth in one place – so that medical professionals can see them. It tells them about what you want to happen, and what you want to avoid, but it needs to be flexible.
“Do I have to write one?”
No. But when you are in labour, you will need to make certain decisions and tell your midwife things it might have been more useful to have thought about before.
“Where do I start?”
Gather as much information as you can before you start: from your antenatal classes, talking to other mums (especially those who had their babies in the same area), and discussing how you feel about the birth with your partner.
“What do I do then?”
Your midwife may give you a special form for your birth plan, or there could be room in your maternity notes. You can also download templates online to print out – just put ‘write a birth plan’ into a search engine. Once it’s written, keep your plan with your notes.
“What should I put in my plan?”
Here’s an idea of what you might like to include:
- Your birth partner, or in other words, who you want to have with you during labour.
- Positions that you would like to use during labour and how active you would like to be. If you would like to use specific equipment such as birth balls or mats, write it down here.
- Pain relief you would like to use, and in what order. Remember to mention water, massage and TENS machine as well as medical pain relief.
- Assisted delivery might be necessary, so express a preference for ventouse or forceps if, at the end of labour, you need some help to give birth.
- The third stage or delivery of the placenta can be speeded up with an injection, or you may prefer to wait and deliver naturally. It’s good to specify too who you want to cut the umbilical cord.
- Skin-to-skin contact is so important after birth – make it clear if you want your baby placed directly on you. And write down if you plan to breast or bottle feed too.
Did your birth go according to your plan? Tell us in the comments below!
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