You may or may not know but having babies isn’t always a walk in the park! That old saying “babies don’t come with an instruction manual” couldn’t be more true. All babies are different and likewise, the ways that they enter this world are all different too.
Writing Your Birth Plan
When thinking about making your birth plan, it pays to think of it as a ‘wish list’ and a great opportunity to educate yourself on all the options which may (or may not) be available to you when giving birth. Having all of the information is key to making informed choices and will enable you to stay empowered during what can be a vulnerable time.
Your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) will give you lots of information throughout your pregnancy. This information will cover a huge range of topics and it’s important that you do take the time to read through the information you are given, plus do some research of your own. If you have done Antenatal Classes during your pregnancy, you will likely have covered most of the information already. Your LMC will also want to talk through a birth plan with you, generally around week 36 of your pregnancy. This ‘planning’ often takes place via information sharing and they will note down your wishes for when your big day comes.
Topics to discuss with your LMC:
- Where you would like to give birth to your baby: Home, hospital, birthing unit
- Who you would like to be there with you when you give birth – your support team
- Preferences for the birth – alternative therapies, positions for labour and birth, birthing environment
- Choices about how your baby and labour will be monitored, pain relief options, what will happen if complications arise
- Choices around Vitamin K for your baby, what you want to do with your placenta, your planned postnatal stay, your wishes for breast or bottle feeding etc.
Once you have covered all of these topics with your LMC they should be able to better understand your hopes for your baby’s birth. It is important to remember that even the best laid plans don’t always turn out as you would hope. But with any luck you will have been empowered along the way to make the best choices for the situation.
It is important to discuss your birth plan with your birthing partner(s) too so they can advocate for you while if you are unable to. Most importantly – remember that your choices are yours and can change at any time. Try to keep your birth plan simple and keep an open mind about your choices so you can respond to any situation which may arise.