A birth plan is where you and your partner contemplate the things that are of interest to you in labour, and then you write down these ideas, or you may choose to just discuss your choices with the team supporting you.
What might I write in my birth plan?
The plan may include a variety of things including your preferences for labouring and birth positions, your planned approach to any options for pain relief ( analgesia), who you wish to be present in labour or at the birth, and any special needs you may have. It may cover nutrition requirements, or how long you would like to stay at home before coming to hospital. The plan can also represent a good opportunity for you to consider aspects that you are concerned or anxious about. These may include things you are hoping to avoid. Writing these down and then discussing them with me at your antenatal visits is most welcomed. Often a clearer understanding emerges and makes for a smoother time when the big day arrives.
Where do I get information?
Information to help you think ahead can come from your doctor, your antenatal classes, pregnancy guidebooks, online forums and blogs. Remember to read all online information critically. If what you read sounds odd, it probably is, and you should feel free to check with me if it raises concerns.
What if something occurs that is not in my birth plan?
One downside of a birth plan is that labour is an unpredictable dynamic process where events occur and plans need to change quite quickly. Avoid the plan being too detailed or prescriptive. There are always aspects of any woman’s birth experience that are slightly different than she may have imagined. Be flexible in case your plan needs to change. Remember your and your baby’s long term health are the most important things. Writing a birth plan is certainly not for everyone, but please feel free to do so and discuss with me in the third trimester as the due date approaches.
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This article has been written by Dr Peter England – Expert Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. Read more about Dr Peter England