Labour birth

The Ultimate Guide To Making A Birth Plan That Works for You

A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences for the labor and delivery process, as well as postpartum care. While it is not mandatory to create a birth plan, it can be a helpful tool for communicating your wishes to your healthcare provider. Your midwife or healthcare provider can assist you in creating a birth plan that aligns with your goals and preferences.

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The Ultimate Guide To Making A Birth Plan That Works for You

Guidelines For Making A Birth Plan

Your birth plan is a written document that outlines your preferences and goals for your labour, delivery, and postpartum experience. It allows you to communicate your wishes to your healthcare provider and support team, and helps ensure that everyone is on the same page. While it’s important to keep in mind that not everything on your birth plan may be feasible or practical, it can still serve as a helpful guide for your care team. Some healthcare providers may provide a birth plan template or ask you to fill one out, while others may be open to creating one if you request it.


Here are the things you should look at including in your birth plan:

Where And How You Give Birth

  • Hospital, birthing centre or home birth? (If you choose a home birth have a back-up plan if you need to go to hospital)
  • Natural birth or elective c-section
  • Who will be present at the birth?
  • Will you have a gynaecologist, midwife, or both?
  • Will you have a doula?

What Would You Like During Labour?

Labour can be a long process and while the main thing on your mind may how to cope with the pain during labour, there are lots of other things to consider for the labour process. Here are some questions to ask yourself and discuss with your birthing team:

  • Do you want to eat and drink during your labour process and will it be allowed?
  • Do you want to be out of bed for your labour? Do you want to be able to walk around, change position, or sit up in bed?
  • Do you want to labour in water?
  • Do you want to play music, burn incense or candles, and have dim lighting?
  • Do you want your partner to take videos and photos?
  • Do you want a labour ball, shower, or birthing pool?

Giving birth labour

Pain Relief

Learn about labour and the different options available for pain relief and coping with the pain. It is important for your care givers and birth partners to know what you think you would prefer, also bearing in mind that you might change your mind at the time so remember to be flexible and plan for things not going as planned.

The three main medical pain relief options for during labour include epidural, pethidine, and nitrous oxide (gas).

Some non-medical pain relief options include TENS, acupressure, acupuncture, breathing exercises, meditation, massage, reflexology, hypnotherapy, hot or cold packs, warm shower or bath, movement, and using distractions such as music.

Questions To Ask Your Hospital Or Birthing Centre

  • Who is allowed to be present during labour and birth? (Fathers, close relatives or friends)
  • Are they ever asked to leave the room and why?
  • Can you move around during labour and can you find your own position for the birth?
  • Are babies with their mothers all the time or is there a separate nursery?
  • What are their policies on breastfeeding? Who will help you to breastfeed your baby or will they help you if you choose to formula feed?
  • What are the visiting hours and visitors policy?
  • How soon after birth can you go home?
  • What is their policy on induction, pain relief and monitoring?
  • What facilities do they have for premature babies or sick babies?

Medical Interventions

During childbirth, medical interventions may be necessary to help initiate or support labour, or to assist in the delivery of the baby. These interventions can include induction to start labour, augmentation to help it progress, or assisted birth or caesarean section to directly aid in the delivery. Your healthcare provider may recommend these interventions for a variety of reasons, depending on your individual circumstances and the health of you and your baby.

Induction

Induction of labour is a medical procedure that is used to initiate and advance labour artificially, rather than allowing the body to go into labour naturally. There are various methods that your healthcare provider may use to induce labor, such as administering medications through an IV or placed in your vagina, or breaking your water manually. The specific method used will depend on your health, your baby’s health, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and the condition of your cervix at the time of induction. In many cases, a combination of methods may be necessary to successfully induce labour.

Labour Augmention

Labour augmentation is a medical procedure that is used to help a woman’s labour progress. This intervention may involve breaking the amniotic sac (also known as artificial rupture of membranes) or administering oxytocin through an intravenous line to increase the frequency and strength of contractions. Your healthcare provider may recommend this procedure if they believe it will help you have a safe and successful delivery.

Assisted Birth

Assisted birth, also referred to as instrumental delivery, is a medical procedure that involves the use of forceps or a vacuum cup (ventouse) to aid in the delivery of a baby. This procedure is typically performed by a doctor or midwife when there are complications during labour or when the baby is having difficulty moving through the birth canal.

Episiotomy

During childbirth, an episiotomy may be performed to enlarge the opening of the perineum (between the vagina and anus) area. This procedure is typically necessary during an assisted birth or if the baby is in distress and needs to be delivered quickly. The cut is made to reduce the risk of tearing and to facilitate a smoother delivery.

Caesarian

A caesarean section, commonly referred to as a c-section, is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered through an incision made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. This procedure may be planned in advance due to medical reasons or complications during pregnancy, or it may be performed as an emergency during labour if there are concerns for the health and safety of the mother or baby. Emergency c-sections may be necessary if labour is not progressing, if the baby is in distress, or if there is a life-threatening emergency.

Newborn baby mom

Your Baby After Birth

  • Will you get your baby immediately after birth for skin to skin?
  • Will you get to latch your baby and breastfeed immediately after birth?
  • Is there a lactation consultant available or can you have one come to the hospital to help you with breastfeeding your baby?
  • Can you give your baby formula if you choose not to breastfeed?
  • Can you give your baby a pacifier?
  • Who will cut the umbilical cord?
  • Will you wait for a while before cutting the umbilical cord?
  • Can you keep the placenta?
  • Can you bank the cord blood?
  • Will the father be able to hold your baby straight after birth and be with your baby while you are in recovery?
  • When will you want visitors? Immediately after the birth or do you want some time to get to know your baby on your own for a while?
  • Who will show you how to look after your baby?
  • Can you have your baby circumcised if it is a boy?

Your birth plan can be simple or you can get right down to details such as having certain music playing while you are in labour and having candles lit. It is important to find out what you can and can’t do at the place you would like to give birth and to relay any special requests.

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6 comments

  1. Never thought of a birth plan. I had a gyni and we just went into hospital and had elective c-section with both children. I assumed hubby would be allowed in and he was.

  2. Sandi maybe that was because you had a gyni? My gyni never mentioned a birth plan once, but my midwife did and she discussed what I wanted with me.

    Hubby thought it was a strange idea lol. But I attempted a home birth and then landed up in hospital for emergency c-section (first baby). 2nd baby I had elective c-section too and just went into hospital and had it done, no birth plan.

  3. I was so confused about my birth plan and how i want to do it …
    I just wanted the best for myself and of course my baby.

    My husband wanted me to have normal vaginal birth and i was feeling more comfertable with c-section.

    At the end of the day i had a c-section because of medical reasons.

    At the end birth plan or not – i have a little princess.

    We shouldnt be to hard on ourselfs with a birth plan… you can plan all you want but sometimes things happen differently.

    • Marisca you are so right. It ultimately is a very personal choice isn’t it? And even when we choose how we would like to give birth it really often isn’t even our choice to make, like my daughter decided to show me with my attempted home birth!

      The most important thing at the end of the day is whether mommy and baby are healthy and happy. If they are then how you give birth really shouldn’t be an issue.

  4. I never makes any birth plans I prepared myself for anything.

  5. I knever had or knew about a birth plan i was asked by my dr how i want to have our baby i said normal he said lets do a examination and i couldnt go normal i had a doula in hospital since i was taken back to my room with my son she helped immidiatly with breast feeding get our boy to latch skin skin and she done that amazing bath with him was magical.

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