Writing your birth plan
Writing a birth plan is very important. A birth plan will help you and your birth partner to easily communicate your birth preferences during labour and discuss it with your midwife and health carer. Having a birth plan when you are in labour will help your birth partner to advocate for you much better and make better decisions.
It’s always a good idea to ask for advice and discuss it with other mothers-to-be when you start writing your birth plan but remember that it will be very personal to you, depending on your own preferences, your medical history and what your hospital can offer.
Write your birth plan in bullet point. Makes it more clear and easier to read.
What to consider and include?
1. Where would you like to give birth? Your choices most likely will be: at home, at a midwife led unit or at an obstetric led unit.
2. Who will be your birth partner?
3. Would you like waterbirth, birth on the bed or closer to the ground (think about positions, such as maybe kneeling, squatting or being on all fours)?
4. What positions do you prefer during labour and birth? Studies shows and midwifes, doulas and health carer agree, that lying down in bed during labour can slow your labour down. If you are upright, gravity can help to push your baby's head down on to your cervix to help it open. Keeping mobile and upright can make the first stage of labour quicker and may help you to cope with the pain of contractions. 1
5. Pain relief. What pain relief do you prefer and would like to avoid? All hospitals will have a different list of pain relief. Discuss with your midwife what options they can offer. Remember that natural pain reliefs are a great way to reduce pain during your labour too! Try meditation, relaxation, hypnobirthing, massage and different breathing techniques! Join a prenatal yoga class to practice breathing techniques
6. Inducing labour and speeding up your labour. Hospitals will have different ways to help you “speed up” dilation, when your cervix hasn’t changed for several hours and baby could be at risk. Always ask and discuss these options at your midwife and consultant appointment. You should write it down in your birth plan if you would prefer your body to progress at its own space during labour (unless of course your baby is at risk) , so midwife and doula will support all best way possible, rather than offering options early on during your labour.
7. State in your birth plan if you planning to use birth pool and other equipment and also include at which stage of labour you prefer using them. Other equipment can be such as birth ball or mat.
8. Cord clamping. If you choose delayed cord cramping (DCC), you should include that in your birth plan, even though it is becoming common practice in many hospitals nowadays. Researches show, that delayed cord clamping allows the blood from the placenta to continue being transferred to the baby even after they are born. This means that the baby could receive up to 214g of cord blood, which is about 30% more blood than they would have without it. This will help to increase baby’s iron levelseven up until they are six months old which helps with growth and both physical and emotional development. DCC will also increase the number of stem cells, which helps with your baby’s growth and helps with their immune system. 2
Include who you would like to cut the cord. Maybe you want your partner, mum or sibling to have this privilege?
9. When would you like skin-to-skin contact with your baby? You might choose to have skin-to-skin with your baby straight after birth or you might prefer, they wash your baby before you have cuddles with your baby. You might also want to include your partner to enjoy skin-to-skin with baby.
10. Feeding your baby. Would you like to breastfeed as soon as possible? Or would you prefer formula feed your baby after birth.
11. Delivery of the placenta, also called the third stage of labour. You have two choices, one is called 'actively managed', when your midwife will give you an injection to help to speed up the placenta delivery and reduce your risk of heavy bleeding. However, you may choose a physiological, 'unaided' third stage, meaning you choose to deliver your placenta naturally. 3
12. Vitamin K. After giving birth you will be offered a vitamin K injection for your baby, which helps to prevent a rare bleeding disorder called haemorrhagic disease. If you wouldn’t like injection, they can also give this orally to your baby, however the does has to be repeated two more times (when baby is one week old and again what six weeks). You can also choose not to give any vitamin K supplement to your baby. 4
If you are not sure of something, just write that you don’t want it, as you can always change your mind along the way. It’s also very important your birth partner understands your birth plan, so she/he can be the best advocate for you.
Try to think about this a birth wish list, rather than putting your expectation high with yourself and your birth. Remember, that every birth is different and not all birth will go according to plan. Most important that you and baby are healthy and happy.
1.Positions for labour. Babycenter
3.Placenta delivery. 3rd stage of delivery. NHS
4.Vitamin K and your new born baby. NHS