How to Write a Birth Plan
Alice and I are getting ready to write our Birth Plan, and as we start to write our third, and very possibly last Plan, we thought we would share a little knowledge on how to write a Birth Plan!!
The aim of a Birth Plan is to communicate your wishes to the people who will care for you in labour. They let them know: what you’d like to happen, and what you’d like to avoid. You don’t have to write one. There are no hard and fast rules for how to do it. But if you would like one, where do you start?
Before you start, remember that births can be unpredictable, and if you’ve not experienced it before, then you may well feel differently on the day. So allow flexibility. The biggest way of ensuring things go to plan, is by acknowledging they may not always go to plan.
Do your research: find out what’s likely, and what’s possible where you have chosen to give birth.
Gather Information but Fight the Fear: understand the process and reality of birth but don’t get bogged down in Labour Stories From Hell. They won’t help. This is your birth – you’ve made this baby! You can birth them. Fear is your enemy, kick it to the kerb now.
Talk to your birth partner: explore together what your priorities are, and if there’s anything you’re worrying about, address it together before writing the plan
Once you’ve got your facts at your fingertips, and have a good idea of what you’d like, it’s time to write.
Things to include:
Who is your birth partner? Where do you want them to be, when?
Positions you’d like to consider for labour and birth
Pain Relief and what order you’d like it in: include here any specifics like hypnobirthing techniques, or massage
What you want to do in the event that labour has slowed
Whether you want to use a pool or any other equipment e.g. birthing ball
Do you want baby monitoring? And if so how are you happy for this to happen?
Do you want a Managed or Natural Third Stage (Placenta Delivery)
Who do you want to cut the cord?
Do you want skin-to-skin when baby is born if possible?
What are your hopes and requests for feeding baby?
What you want to happen in unexpected situations? For example, if baby needs to go to SCBU do you want your birth partner to go with baby or stay with you?
Any particular requirements e.g. religious needs, customs or if you have a difficulty with the language
Once you’ve got your plan written, show it to your midwife and ask for their input. It’s vital to know before the birth whether your plans are realistic, but at the same time you are sure it completely conveys your wishes.
And good luck with the birth!