Writing your Birth Plan

We all know that labour and delivery don?t always go to plan, but that doesn?t stop us all having hopes about how we would like it to go, and worries about it going wrong. Writing a birth plan won?t change how your labour progresses ? it won?t make your baby turn around if he decides he is coming feet first, and it won?t make your pain relief work any faster!

However, a birth plan does have a very important function. Firstly, it establishes what your wishes are, so that when it comes to the things that can be controlled, your desires are made very clear to everyone concerned. It also eases birth anxiety ? writing your birth plan means you consider the various things that will be important and make decisions so that you know what you want and aren?t left wondering and feeling anxious.

How to Write a Good Birth Plan

What should be included? You can include anything you feel is important to you, don?t feel foolish if you include something that the rest of the expectant mothers in your antenatal class haven?t ? this is YOUR plan. Remember to keep your plan short, simple and easy to understand. Here are some things to consider for inclusion;

Who will be there?
Who is your chosen birth partner or birth partners? Do you want them to be there throughout the labour and birth or are there times you?d like some privacy? Get this all written down and confirmed with your birth partner so they know just where they

Pain relief

This is an important aspect of the birth plan ? what pain relief do you think you would prefer? Research this, ask around and discuss it with your midwife to make a more informed choice. Bear in mind that your choices may change when the time comes, or complications may arise which mean you require a specific type of pain relief.

RELATED: Signs that Labour is Imminent

Activity and Position

Establish what you would like to do during labour ? do you want to be active, changing positions, are there positions you would prefer or those you?d like to avoid? How about a water pool? Would you like to have a birth ball? Or a massage? Do you want to listen to music? Picture what you would like to be doing during labour and write it down.

Intervention

If the midwife feels you need help to speed up your labour, do you want to accept or continue naturally for a set amount of time? Do you feel strongly about either ventouse or forceps and feel that you would prefer one over the other if they are deemed necessary?

After the Birth

Your plan shouldn’t end at the birth. Consider if you would like the birthing partner to cut the umbilical cord, and talk to them about this. Skin to skin contact is an important aspect of birth ? this kick-starts the bonding process and is beneficial for mother, baby and the other parent. State that you would like skin to skin contact as early as possible to ensure this happens. If you are choosing to breastfeed, you might like to include this in the plan so that your midwife can help you encourage baby to the breast as early as possible. If you don?t want your baby to be given any formula, state this in the birth plan.

Author: Arlene Copeland

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