Should I write a Birth Plan?
It is completely up to you. It is not compulsory.
When we meet pregnant women, it is always interesting to see if they have any strong feelings about the kind of the birth they are hoping for or if they have a completely open mind.
Some women may have been advised that they will be having a Caesarean Section for some reason, others may have very strong feelings about NOT having an epidural whilst some mums insist that they do not want to feel even one split second of pain (and would like to have an epidural in the car park when they arrive at the hospital!)
We often meet women who have had a baby 2 weeks, 6 months or even 6 years ago who are still upset, angry or frustrated about the kind of birth that they had. Sometimes their antenatal teachers told them that they could just breathe and blow and out their baby would pop. Perhaps they did not learn about Caesarean Sections and so they fixated on the ideal of a natural birth and when things did not go “to plan” they were shocked, angry and disappointed that their body did not do what they felt it was supposed to do. Perhaps they had a quick and easy birth but then their baby had to go to intensive care and they were devastated they did not get the skin-to-skin time they had outlined in their Birth Plan.
One problem with Birth Plans is that sometimes the way they are presented is a bit like a room service menu. It can feel as if you can choose exactly what you want to happen. “Quick, painless and easy labour with no stitches please!!!”
But what we want to try and get across during the course of these classes is that you just cannot predict the kind of birth you will have. That might be a bit of a shock to read, but if you understand that the birth you will have will essentially be largely beyond your control then hopefully you will not set yourself up for disappointment.
What Should I Include in My Birth Plan?
In your last trimester, your midwife will probably encourage you to write a birth plan or at least to spend a little time thinking about your “ideal” birth.
- Where you would like to give birth? At home? In hospital?
- Who you would like to be with you? Your partner? Your mother? Your best friend’s auntie’s neighbour’s sister?
- Would you like to try a birthing pool ?
- Would you like to have your baby in the Birthing Centre or in the Labour Ward?
- Do you imagine that you would like Pain relief or would you like to try without?
- When the baby is born would you like” Skin-to-skin” straight away or would you like the baby wiped and wrapped up and then handed to you?
- What are your thoughts about the delivery of placenta? Would you like a medical or “physiological” delivery?
For a more detailed discussion on Birth Plans please do come and sign up for our FREE Online Antenatal Classes.