Your birth plan tells your midwives and doctors what you’d like done during your baby’s birth.
It’s a written document that you can put in your pregnancy folder and it spells out things like what pain relief you want, what positions you want to give birth in and what interventions you’re happy with.
But make sure you’re flexible as things can change quickly in labour. And remember that if your birth doesn’t follow the plan it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good birth.
You’ll cover most of the aspects of a birth plan in antenatal classes but you can also speak to other mums and our community to find out what worked for them. But how you give birth is deeply personal and your birth plan makes your choices clear.
Make sure you’ve shared your plan with your birthing partner so they can communicate what you need if you’re not able to.
Wherever you choose to give birth you should go through your birth plan with your midwife before you get into the more intense stages of childbirth.
You can download an NHS template to fill in.
And here are 11 things it’s good to include:
- Where you want to give birth - hospital? home?
- Birth partner details - name and contact number
- Positions - would you prefer to lie down, stand up?
- Pain relief - do you want an epidural, nothing at all or to see how it goes? You can let the midwife know if you’re bringing a TENS machine.
- Birthing pool - would you like to use one if it’s available?
- Assisted birth - are you happy for labour to be sped up or for the midwife to use forceps or suction?
- Monitoring - are you happy for them to monitor you and your baby?
- Placenta - do you want the injection?
- Sex - do you want the midwife to tell you?
- After birth - do you want skin to skin? Do you plan to breastfeed? Who's cutting the cord?
- Unexpected circumstances - are you open to a C Section? If your baby has to go to another hospital do you want to go with them?
Once you have written your birth plan, you should get your midwife to read it. They can go through your birth plan and answer any questions so you get closer to the labour you want.
But it’s important to come to terms with the fact that labour doesn’t always go to plan. So be open to suggestions before and during that keep you and your baby safe and healthy.
Found this useful? Read: How do I prepare for my baby?
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