Have you thought about the way you would like to birth your baby?
Creating a birth plan to suit you is a great way of helping you mentally prepare and to feel more in control of your labour and birthing experience. Whether it's your first or third time, this is a fantastic tool to birth with confidence!
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a summary of your preferences for when you are in labour and birthing.
It includes things like what position you want to give birth in, what pain relief you prefer (if you need it) and who you would like to be with you at the birth.
A birth plan is a good way to communicate with your midwife or doctor about what is important to you before the birth. It gives them information about your preferences during labour and what you would like to avoid, where possible. It is also helpful if something unexpected happens if you are away from home or travelling.
Keep in mind mamas, you cannot control every aspect of labour and the birth, so keep an open mind to the fact that things can change very quick and you need to be flexible in your planning in case something does not go as planned.
Where to start...
Research labour and birth options:
- Go to antenatal classes. Ask your healthcare provider to recommend an antenatal class or look for a private class in your area. Ask other parents where they did their antenatal classes and if they would recommend them.
- Talk to mothers who have given birth at the hospital or birth centre you are going to, or to women who have had a home birth, if that's what you are hoping for. Find out how easy or difficult it was for them to get the kind of care they wanted. Maybe if they would do anything different next time...
- Talk to your partner or support person and discuss what sort of labour and birth would they like you to have? How do they see their role during the labour?
- Develop an understanding of what could go wrong in childbirth. Be aware and prepared to go down a different path if necessary, as you may need some kind of intervention or an emergency caesarean if you or bubs health is at risk.
What things should I consider for my birth plan?
- Your preferred name/nickname
- Pain relief during and after birth
- The atmosphere you would like – think about music, aromatherapy, lighting, the amount of talking during labour
- Positions for labour and birth – such as the pool, standing, squatting, hands and knees or kneeling over a yoga ball
- Who will be present during the birth – and anyone you don’t want in the room – plus include who should stay if intervention is required
- Procedures you would like to avoid
- Delayed cord clamping and who you want to cut the cord
- If you would like baby to have vitamin K
- What you would like to happen once the baby is born - baby on your chest straight away, baby dried first then put skin to skin, or to wait until the first feed is finished before weighing and check-ups are done
- Feeding your baby – be clear about whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed
- Special needs – list any considerations you may need in regards to religious needs, mobility, rituals.
Sharing your birth plan...
Designing a birth plan to suit your wishes is a great way your support people know what kind of labour and birth you are hoping for and they can be an advocate on your behalf, if necessary.
Remember the best plan is to stay flexible in case something happens that makes it necessary to deviate from your preferences.
Try to stay relaxed and remember it’s the final result that matters –
A healthy and happy mama and baby!