There is often a lot of focus put on having a birth plan for labour and delivery. I have heard women say that their birth was nothing like their plan and others who ask ‘what is the point of writing one’. I think it is useful to have an idea of what you would like for your labour. It doesn’t have to solely focus on the labour part, you may want to plan for how you deliver your placenta, who cuts the cord and how you wish to find out the sex of your baby (if you’re having a surprise!).
Here are my top tips for making a birth plan.
- Keep it simple – You don’t need to write pages of wants and don’t wants, you can jot down a few ideas in bullet points on one side of A4. There is usually space provided in your antenatal notes that you can use for your thoughts.
- Keep an open mind – I have seen women come to the delivery room with a long, detailed birth plan and then focus on the things they didn’t want. This can result in the labour slowing down (high adrenaline levels and therefore lower Oxytocin levels) and they inevitably end up with all the things they didn’t want to happen. No-one can predict what path a labour may follow, the more open minded you are to it, the more relaxed you will be.
- Discuss it with your midwife – Every hospital will have different facilities that they can offer you for labour and delivery. It is always a good idea to talk to your midwife about your ideas. She/he may be able to tell you about options that you hadn’t thought of or help to find compromises depending on your wishes and your ‘risk’ factors for labour.
- Discuss your plans with your birthing partner/s – It is important to have discussed all options with your birth partner/s before the event so they can fully support you in any choices that need to be made.
- Attend good antenatal classes! – This is the most important point! Good antenatal education will ensure that you fully understand the process of labour, what helps things to go more smoothly and why things may go adrift. This will enable you to be better prepared for your labour and delivery; help you to construct a meaningful birth plan which incorporates the above tips and will hopefully enable you to have a good birth experience.
You can find out more about my antenatal classes here