Whether it’s planning a holiday, a wedding, re-decorating the spare room or even just a free weekend, who doesn’t love a bit of planning! And a birth plan is something both exciting and hugely valuable when you are preparing for the arrival of your baby. But like any plan, remember it is not set in stone. Be prepared to be flexible, understanding that it might not necessarily work out to be the step by step plan you initially envisaged. But please don’t let this put you off!
Creating a birth plan is not just about choosing the way you would like things done when the time comes; the whole process encourages you to research and delve a little deeper into the different options that are available to you. This means that if an unexpected situation does arise or part of your plan, for whatever reason is not possible then you will naturally feel calmer knowing your options and their associated implications before it is all go go go!
And if nothing else, creating a birth plan can help you to feel more in control during a time which can feel unpredictable and, let’s face it somewhat overwhelming.
Building your birth plan
You can cover as much or little as you like in your birth plan; it’s yours to with as you wish. However, if you are unsure where to get started then here are some factors worth considering:
- Where you would ideally like to give birth
- Who you would like with you and for which stage
- If you would like any special equipment or facilities
- What position you would like to give birth in
- If you would like skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth
- If you would like pain relief and which of these you would be happy with
- Feeding options after birth
- If you would like delayed cord clamping
- If you might like to keep your placenta
It is completely up to you but you may want to add in some more personal requests to your birth plan too – whether it’s a particular playlist, specific lighting or details on photography during or after for example. Whatever makes you feel more at ease – add it in!
Once you are ready to start compiling your birth plan, the NHS have a useful template you can download and fill out.
I’ve written my birth plan. Now what?
Once you’ve got everything written down that’s important to you, go through your plan with your midwife during one of your antenatal appointments. This is an opportunity to talk through any questions or any uncertainties you might have and ask their expert advice so you can get your plan all ironed out, in good time before you give birth.
It is also worthwhile giving a copy to and discussing your birth plan with your partner, mum, friend or whoever you have chosen to be in the room with you during the birth. This way, they will be aware of and understand your choices which will make it easier for them to offer their support with whatever decisions you make on the day.
Remember that you can change your birth plan at any time -it’s not a contract that you have had to sign! And if anything, it is important that you are flexible with your plan as you will need to consider how you would feel if plan A ended up not being possible. What would you be happy with as your Plan B or C? The more research you have done, the more understanding you will have of the various options available to you and the easier any decision making will be on the day.
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