Writing Your Birth Plan
Many expecting parents often ask, “Should we write a birth plan?” or “What do we need to write in a birth plan? So I thought I would write something to answer some of these questions.
It is totally up to you. You can write a plan if you want but don’t feel you have to. Some people just feel happy to go with the flow and others have more specific requests they want their midwife to be aware of. Many of you may know when you’re in labour its not one of the best time to open up an indepth discussion, so for some of you being a little prepared can help. This is your birth and no-one should ever make you do anything you don’t want to do. However, interventions may occur and as a professional I can assure you we don’t take that decision lightly. Deciding when and how to intervene is very challenging but these decisions are based around the medical and safety needs for you and your baby.
Keep it short and sweet! Unless you are having a homebirth your midwife will have more time to go through your preferences. However, if you are having your baby in the hospital your midwife may not have the time to read lots of information, especially if you arrive at the unit already pushing!! We don’t need to know why you have made certain choices, just one easy to read page with bullet points gets your voice heard.
Be direct but not demanding. For example; “Do not talk to me when I’m in labour” instead, write something along the lines of “we would appreciate a quiet birthing environment with minimal talking.” Use flexible language like prefer instead of require/demand this promotes a positive relationship between you and your care providers.
Be open minded. Many parents say they don’t want to have a caesarean or forceps/ventouse delivery. Again this is something that is only done as a necessity and one would hope you would be involved in the decision process; so this is when it would be useful to know your preferences:
- If you go to theatre who do you want to go with you?
- Preferred type of anaesthetic; spinal or general?
- If you have a caesarean do you want the drapes lowered at delivery so you can see your baby being born?
- Do you want to see your placenta?
What we want to know!
- What do you liked to be called?
- Who is going to be your birthing partners and what are their names? (We recommend only two birth partners otherwise it becomes too crowded).
- Do you want a waterbirth?
- What analgesia do you want to maybe try and is there something you don’t even want to be offered?
- Would you prefer not to be offered analgesia and we will wait for you to ask and then we will talk through your options?
- What type of music do you want playing if any?
- How do you want to find out the sex of the baby?
- Do you mind having vaginal examinations to assess you progress in labour?
- Is it ok for us to listen to your baby’s heart beat during labour?
- Have you thought about how you want to deliver your placenta naturally or injection?
- Do you want your baby to have vitamin k? If so do you want them to have it orally or injection?
- Do you want skin to skin?
- If you are unable to have skin to skin, would you like your partner to have skin to skin?
- How are you going to feed your baby? If you are going to formula feed do you want to your baby the breast for the first feed?
- In an emergency if you can’t feed your baby is it ok for them to have formula?
- Who is cutting your baby’s cord?
- Do you have any religious requests?
Remember it’s your birth so think of things that are most important to you at the delivery of your new baby.