You’re getting closer to the big day. Baby is almost here. And while you’ve prepped your hospital bag, stocked the freezer and practised your breathing – don’t forget to write your birth plan!
A really considered birth plan, designed by you, not only helps set your intention for your ideal birth environment, it can boost your confidence too.
Understand that it’s just a ‘plan’ – your birth could unfold differently
“Birth plans are really just a document to condense your preferences and keep your communications in one place,” says Nadine Richardson, founder of birth education program, She Births®.
“But they’re pointless if you don’t educate yourself. Don’t set yourself up for failure by copying and pasting from other people’s websites. Especially if they’re not Australian. Speak with your doula or midwife before you make a start to help you think about the kinds of things you’d like to include.”
Read more about birth:
- Should you make rules for baby’s first photo?
- Amazing birth photo literally turns labour upside down
- 16 of the craziest places women have given birth
5 important things to include in your birth plan
1. The kind of words you’d like your caregivers to use around you to invoke your ideal birth environment, ie, calm, quiet, joyful.
2. The type of birth that you want – vaginal, natural, in water, and crucially “off your back”. Nadine says you need to specifically state if you’d like your caregivers to facilitate birthing on all fours, or in the water.
3. List any birth education courses you’ve done or the tools you’ve been using in your pregnancy, like massage, hypnotherapy, yoga, etc.
4. Also list any birthing props you’d like to use, like a fit ball, birthing mats etc.
5. Clarify your boundaries, ie:
- Please don’t suggest epidural when I’m in a transition stage
- Please don’t break my waters unless medically necessary
- I’m happy to have morphine
Pack a copy (or two) in your hospital bag
Sign and date it and make sure you keep the information to one page.
“It’s easy to forget this at the last minute and even if your support team has one on file they won’t leave the room to pick it up,” says Nadine.
I’m having a c-section, can I write a birth plan?
“Yes! C-section mamas and babies need a birth plan too,” says Nadine.
“Focus on the kind of birthing environment you want to create, do you want music, your partner to be standing next to you or at the bottom of the bed?”
Some other suggestions might be:
- Please allow us to play the music we have prepared during the birth
- Please place baby on me, we want maximum skin-to-skin contact
- Please do/don’t lower the drape
- Please delay the cord clamping until …
Once you’ve set out your birth plan, it can be a good idea to run it by your doula or midwife before you head to hospital.
At the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is make yourself feel ready for this next, very exciting and daunting phase of your life.
Any support your caregivers can provide during the birthing process will ensure your brand new arrival will be a safe and happy one.