Writing a birth plan

(This article is also available in an audio format)

No one cares more about your baby than you, its parents – therefore you are the ones who should be making informed decisions on behalf of your baby. A birth plan is a written plan for the procedures and atmosphere for your birth.

The birthing plan is your ideal and what you will strive to achieve. But it is important to realize, that if things should not go as planned, the experience should not be devastating. Therefore the birthing plan should not be rigid, but reflect an awareness that birth sometimes does not go as expected.

Language, which reflects an attitude of cooperation and flexibility on your part, is greeted by your birth attendant with a similar attitude. Your plan should consist of options that reflect your philosophy and attitude towards birth.

Here are some points to consider

  • Who will be with you during labour – perhaps you want more than one person – your partner as well as a support person
  • Whether you would like to move around during the first stage of labour
  • Whether you would like to play your own music during labour
  • Whether you would like to avoid using drugs, or are keen to have as pain-free a birth as possible
  • Whether you would like to eat and drink freely during labour
  • Whether when it is time to push, you would like to do so instinctively and listen to your body as to when to push and what position to be in
  • Whether you would like help to avoid an episiotomy
  • Whether you want to be the first person to hold your baby and discover its sex
  • If you would like the lights dimmed as your baby is born
  • If you would like the cord to stop pulsating before it is cut
  • If your partner would like to cut the cord
  • If you would like your baby placed skin-to-skin on your chest and left there to breastfeed in his time
  • To be on baby time and not hospital time
  • If you would like some time alone with your partner and the baby
  • If you want to have your baby with you all of the time
  • If you have a caesar, could it be a skin to skin caesar as well as to use a vaginal swab to seed your baby with your microbiome

Discuss the plan fully with your caregiver to ensure they are happy with everything you desire. Should your caregiver not have the same ideals as you, you can then find a caregiver who does. When used this way, the birth plan enhances communication, takes the surprises out for both parents and staff, and ensures that all are working as a team toward the same goals.

Get your doctor or midwife to sign the birth plan and put a copy into your labour bag.

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