Babies don’t read a Birth Plan and it’s not a requirement for labour, however, a birth plan can provide a flexible framework for how you would like your labour to be. You can include what you would like to try or not try when in labour, such as pain relief options, labour positions, your environmental preferences (eg music, soft lighting etc), as well as preempting some comforts you may prefer after your delivery, including if and when visitors are welcome during your stay in hospital. Writing and sharing your birth plan is also a great way to work as a team with your partner, obstetrician and the midwives who will be looking after you in hospital.
What should I include in my Birth Plan?
Try to keep statements positive and avoid starting sentences with “I don’t want…” Instead, set out your preferences in a clear, positive way, such as, “I’d love the idea of a back massage while I’m having contractions” or “after my caesar, can I put my own nightie on as soon as possible?” At all times, your midwives will try to help you as much as possible. On occasions where a medical situation may change your ability to have things done in your preferred way, we will always explain what we need to do during your delivery and why -and we will never do anything against your wishes.
It’s important to identify preferences in your Birth Plan that are important to both you and your midwife. For example, “Can you please have the birth pool ready when I come into labour as I’d love to hop straight in after a stressful car journey having contractions!” Try to keep your plan short and sweet – midwives on a night shift can take a while to read things! Don’t forget to add some humour (like I just did)!
During your pregnancy, learn about the different options available to you. At the antenatal classes, we will show you around the hospital birthing suite and discuss the different signs of labour, including the early stages of labour that you will have at home.
Its also important to bring your birth plan in to your antenatal appointment with George to read and go through with you. This will help make sure we are all on the same page.
Some options to consider for your Birth Plan:
There are lots of websites and forums online, where you can get an idea of what to include in your birth plan. Avoid comparing yourself to anyone else – that goes for pregnancy, birth and being a parent too! Use these resources as a guide but remember, it’s most important for you and your partner to choose the tools you will need in labour together. Talk about tools like oils and massage during labour etc as well as your sequence of events (for example, I’ll try the shower first, then the birth pool”).
Remember your hospital midwives are experts and we’ve seen it all! Important things like skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping and early breastfeeding are all part of the care you will receive from us, and we keep things as low key and normal as much as possible for you. It’s aldo important to remember that labour and birth can be unpredictable too, so be prepared for some of your plan to change – it prepares you for parenthood.
This is the beginning of a beautiful journey.
For more ideas and to discuss writing your birth plan, phone Georgina on a Monday or Wednesday, or Contact Us to book an appointment with her.