A birth plan is a way to communicate to your doctor and the midwives with you are in labor. It tells them the type of birth you wish to have, what you would like to happen and what you want to avoid. The plan is not set in stone but needs to be flexible and acknowledge things that may not go according to your plan. The plan is to assist your doctor of midwives in the event that complications arise in the delivery room.
Your plan does not need to be written, it just needs to be known by your doctor, your midwife, and/ or family members that will be present during the birth of the baby. Just remember that your birth plan is personal to you and should reflect your wishes and preferences not anyone else’s.
Things that should be included in your birth plan are as follows:
- Your birth partner
- Who do you want to have in labor with you?
- Positions for labor and birth
- Which positions are most comfortable for you
- Pain relief
- What kinds of pain relief would you like to use, if any and in what order
- Speeding up labor
- Should interventions be used to speed up labor if it starts to slow?
- Birth pool
- Do you wish to use the birth pool for pain relief or for labor?
- Other equipment
- Wall bars, birth balls or mats can be provided to use during labor
- Monitoring your baby’s heart rate
- Monitoring the heart rate every 15 minutes
- Assisted birth
- What tools can be used if labor begins to become difficult for you
- Third stage (delivery of placenta)
- Skin-to-skin contact
- If you wish to have the baby placed directly on your tummy right after birth
- Feeding your baby
- Be clear as to whether you want your baby breastfed or bottle fed
- Unexpected situations
- What do you want to happen if your baby needs to go to the special care baby unit?
Even though there are many things that can go wrong during child birth, you have to remember to keep positive thoughts in your head when writing your birth plan. Yes there are possibilities of things happening but have faith in the medical providers that will be assisting you during this very exciting time of your family’s life.
Be sure that your plan is reviewed. There may be important information that you may have forgotten to include or something that may not need to be in there. It is your plan and it depicts what you want to do in the event something goes wrong, or how you want the delivery to go and what medications you would like to receive and when. Keep it personal to your wishes and do not let anyone influence the choices that you have made. Everyone is different and your preferences may be very different for your mother or grandmother. It is important to listen to what they have to say but it is more important to do whatever it is you feel is right for your delivery and for your baby.