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Plan my Birth

Why Should I Plan My Birth?

The most valuable part of preparing a birth plan is taking the time to consider all the options you have available to you and to have a good think about what is most important to you during your labour, birth and postpartum. It also gives you the opportunity to go through and discuss all the options available to you with your partner and/or birth companion. Making a birth plan also gives you the opportunity to go through and think about the whole process of labour, birth and postpartum. When you know what to expect, you are more confident in yourself and less anxious or afraid.
Remember - if you don’t know what your options are, you won’t have any.
Don’t depend on someone else to do the research for you, because you are the only expert on what matters most to you.
Having a birth plan is especially important if you are giving birth in a hospital, because you won’t have a chance to meet the midwives, nurses and doctors who are caring for you before you are in labour. A birth plan helps them learn your preferences without you having to explain them in detail.

Why do I need a birth plan - all I want is a normal birth and a healthy baby
While that may seem simple, the reality is very different. Firstly, you have to define what normal (or optimal) birth is for you and decide what you want from the array of things that are available. The people attending your birth cannot know that without your input - after all, you wouldn’t let a waiter decide what you were going to eat at a restaurant because “he’s the expert”. You might ask his opinion but the ultimate choice is yours. Secondly, an awful birth experience is not the ”price” you have to pay for a healthy baby - you can (and should) absolutely have an experience where you felt you were making the choices and you were happy with them AND have a healthy baby. You have the right to both.
This baby is only going to be born once - what would make it really special for you and for her?

Include your partner and support people in drafting your birth plan
It’s vital to include your partner and any support people (doula, mum, sister) in the process of drafting the plan. You don’t have to defend your choices to them, but you do have to make sure they know what your choices are and that they know that their support of your choices is vital. Working with them on the plan and going over the options and your choices is a good way to do this. Ask them to put their own requests in too, for example your partner may want to announce baby’s sex, or name, or cut the umbilical cord. Also take at least one other opportunity after the plan has been finalised to go over it with them one more time and make sure they know what’s most important to you.

Where can I get the information I need?
This chapter will present some of the most important things you need to think about but you also have to consider your own unique circumstances (physical, social, emotional) and include them in the
plan. It’s helpful to have a look at the website of the hospital or birth centre where you are planning to birth and tour the facilities to see what’s available. If you’re birthing at home talk to your midwife and go through all your options with her. Once you have a draft of your birth plan take it to one of your prenatal appointments or meet with your midwife or doula so she can provide feedback on whether what you’ve written is realistically possible in the place you are planning to birth.
Remember, a birth plan is not an order list to pass on to your care providers - it’s a basis for communicating your wishes and expectations openly and clearly, and discussing them together. It’s also a way for your providers to get to know your values and wishes quickly and clearly.

Do midwives and doctors like birth plans?
Ideally, midwives and doctors see birth plans as an amazing communication tool that helps them learn about what is most important to their clients during labour and birth. Sometimes though, some healthcare providers don’t like it when families are choosing to own their experience and take the time to say what they want. However, the experience of labour, birth and postpartum matters to
families, mothers and babies and it should be up to you to make the choices you want to make. You won’t see the healthcare providers after you leave the hospital or birth centre, but you will be processing your experience for weeks and months. Your rights and values are not an inconvenience or a hassle and nobody should treat them as if they were.
If your chosen healthcare providers or those working at the place you have chosen for your birth mock your birth plan or the idea of birth plans, take this as a sign that they will probably not respect your choices during birth.