A birth plan is a way of letting the people who will be looking after you during labour and birth know the things you’d like to happen. This can include anything from the type of pain control you want to how you’d like to spend the first few hours with your newborn.
What is a Birth Plan?
Birth plans can range from a written guide to all stages of labour, birth and afterwards, to just a few things you’ve discussed with your midwife – the idea is to help you feel prepared for what’s to come.
Is it Essential?
It’s not essential to have a birth plan and many people don’t. If you have specific wishes it can be a good idea to write them down as, during the throws of labour and contractions, you may not be able to express yourself -or even remember what you wanted to happen at all!
Here are some of the things you could include if you want to have a birth plan in place:
- People – List the people you want to be involved in your labour and/or birth and the roles you’d like them to play.
- Location – Choosing where you want to give birth is a big decision, with the options of home birth or in a hospital. If you’re planning a home birth, it’s a good idea to also express your wishes should you need to be transferred to a labour ward at any time.
- Pain relief –This is one thing that some mums-to-be may have very strong feelings about, and you should express these in your birth plan. It might help you to do some research about the types of pain relief that are available during labour to help you make a decision.
- Atmosphere – Creating the ambience you desire when you bring your child into the world is also another important thing to consider if you’re making a birth plan. This can include anything from music and lighting to any equipment you’d like to use, such as birthing balls or a birthing pool.
- Delivery position – There are various positions you can adopt when it’s time to give birth to your baby, some of which may be depicted at the time your baby’s ready to come into the world! But if you have an idea of the position you’d like to be during birth, then include this in your plan too. Positions could include squatting, being on all fours, lying on your side or sitting up.
However you plan for it, remember that things can change during labour and your birth plan may well not play out the way you wanted it to. If you don’t have any specific requests; then don’t worry – you don’t need a plan, it’s perfectly ok to just ‘go with the flow’!