If you’re expecting a little one of your own sometime soon, then you may have heard people tell you that you should create a birth plan, or begin thinking of creating one at least. A birth plan is a written record of what you would like to happen during your labour, and after your baby has been born. By thinking about your options, you can feel more secure knowing what will happen during labour – just bear in mind that not all birth plans go down exactly as you wanted, as complications can sometimes get in the way. When you’re around 34 weeks pregnant, you should develop your birth plan.
What to Include in Your Birth Plan
Your birth plan is totally unique and personal to you, so it depends on how you envision your labour. You should include:
- What you want.
- Your medical history.
- What’s available at your maternity service.
- Where you’d like to give birth, whether this is at hospital or at home.
- Who you’d like to be with you during the birth, a partner, relatives, friends, etc.
- Whether you’d like to use pain relief treatment, and if so what methods you’d like (there are both natural methods and medical methods).
- Whether you’d like an injection to speed up delivery of the placenta, or if you’d like this to be natural.
- How you feel about assisted birth ( a cesarean section), if things didn’t go quite as planned.
- Whether you’d like your baby placed straight on your stomach before the nurses clean them up.
- How you want to feed your baby, by breast or bottle.
- Whether you mind any student nurses, midwives or doctors present during your labour.
Make sure you discuss these things with the baby’s father, and your friends/family to get opinions and include any special requirements. For example, you might have religious customs that you’d like to uphold. By talking to women who have already created a birth plan or had babies, you can find out more about the process and discover things you’d like to include.
How to Write Your Birth Plan
You might be given a form to note down your birth plan, or there could be room in your notes. Make sure you use the birth plan as a way to communicate the things that matter most to you, in order to make this experience as pleasant as possible. However, always remember to stay flexible and bear in mind that things just can’t go to plan sometimes.
Don’t feel as if you have to write your birth plan all at once. You can add bits as you go along, like when you go to certain classes, read books, or talk to mothers you know. The maternity team who are due to go through your labour with you will discuss this plan with you so they know exactly what you want. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of your birth plan with you, just in case. Now that you know how to write your plan and what to include, you can begin thinking about how you’d like your labour to go. Good luck!