Your Birth Plan

Your Birth Plan

Your birth plan or better birth preferences can be an important part of your journey into parenthood.

You may have heard people talking about their birth plan going out of the window or saying it is not worth writing one… In my opinion, as a doula and mother of 4, it is worth thinking about your birth preferences (rather than “plan”). You may or may not wish to put them in writing, that’s up to you. However, sharing and discussing your preferences, personal thoughts and feelings about the birth with your birth partner(s) is important.

positive birth affirmations
Information is power – write down your birth preferences!

You can go all out and make it very detailed, of course, but the more details you choose the less realistic your expectations may become. So, let’s focus on your main 4-5 preferences for the birth. Things that you are likely be able to control.

You may wish to consider:

  • Your birth place – where do you wish to give birth
  • The birth environment
    • who will be there (birth partner(s), doula, …)
    • what (home) comforts would you like to be there (music, blanket, cushion…)
    • what is the lighting going to be like?
    • is there music?
  • Birth Method
    • vaginal
    • caesarean
    • induction
    • in water
    • out of water
  • Your religion/beliefs/traditions
  • Your medical history and your individual options
  • Mention your medical pain relief preferences
    • don’t want any or
    • let me know when I can have the epidural or
    • I would like x but avoid y
  • You are allowed to decline all/any vaginal examinations at any point as well as any other form of physical touch. You can change your mind at any point. However, most women are happy to vaginal examinations, and consenting to them may help your midwife do their job.

The NHS website has a very detailed birth plan template, which you may wish to use to check that you’ve considered all your different options. However, you may not wish to use it as your actual birth preferences.

Think about it in a chronological order:

  • Early labour / at home
  • active labour / on the way to the hospital / while waiting for the midwives to arrive
  • established labour / at the birth place under midwifery care
    • transition
  • second stage / pushing
  • third stage / the placenta
    • the golden hour with your baby

If there are any of your preferences which don’t align with your health care provider’s recommendations, negotiate before the day, not on the day. In addition to that, it may be helpful to have a doula to help with your birth preferences and to ensure you have good evidence-based information. I offer private online or local in-person birth planning sessions.

Some sources for good evidence-based information:

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