For every expecting mother, writing birth plans is a very exciting part of your Sacred Journey into Motherhood. Birth plans are your manifesto – how, if it were up to you to choose: you would like things to be. Trusting in Nature is a good place to start as research has shown that the less intervention there is - the better the outcome for YOU and YOUR BABY. However even natural birth plans should consider how you would feel if some intervention were necessary - for your safety or the safety of your baby.
I love Dr Sarah Buckley's article on "Pain in labor: Your hormones are your helpers"
If you can – do not write your birth plans in cement – things can change pretty quickly during labour – and you want to be able to make the best decision for you and your baby.
Remember your goal: a happy healthy baby at the end of your birth journey, and for you to be healthy too!
I have read so many birth plans and have been amazed at how poorly informed some expecting mothers are. There are things that happen during pregnancy and birth, that are beyond our control and it is really important that you feel you are involved in choices about what will happen to your body and your baby, always keeping your goal in mind: a happy healthy baby, and for you to be healthy too - so put that at the top of your Birth Plans!
Firstly, I will work on the assumption that you have chosen your Doctor/Obstetrician/Midwife/ or Health Care Professional – because you trust that they will do their very best for you and your baby, that they too want a happy healthy baby at the completion of your birth journey. Make sure you discuss your sample birth plans with your Health Professional – as different hospitals have different policies.
Samples of birth plans should include:
Birth Support people:
Who will be present at the birth – other than the staff involved
I understand that personal items may become soiled and I would like to
- Bring my own clean clothes
- Bring music to be played
- Have photos/ videos taken of the birth
- Dim the lights if it is safe for my baby and me
- Induced Labour
- I would prefer not to have an enema, or pubic hair shave
- I would like my support people with me at all times
- I do not wish to have student doctors/nurses/midwives or any unnecessary staff present
- I understand that my labour is likely to progress more quickly if I am active during labour
- If my baby and I are fine – I would like intermittent monitoring so that I am free to move around during the first stage of labour
- I understand that having an IV heparin or saline lock is best inserted once I am in established labour – as it may be needed if a complication arises
- I would like to try birthing aids such as birth balls, birth chairs and/or birth pool/tub
This is one area of birth plans where it is great to have a goal, and also to give yourself permission to change your mind. Unless you have given birth before – you cannot know for sure how you will cope, and if your labour progresses slowly you can become distressed, which in turn will cause your baby to be distressed. This could go against your goal of a healthy happy baby – so be open to making the best decision at the time.
- If my baby and I are fine – please do not offer me pain relief
- I would like to try pain relieving techniques such as massage, bath or shower, breathing techniques, hypnosis, TENS machine, acupuncture, reflexology – find out what your birthing center/hospital has available.
- I would like medications for pain at the best time for me and my baby
- I would like to have the option of an epidural or spinal anaesthetic
- I understand that if I have an epidural or spinal anaesthetic – I may need a catheter placed into my bladder – to help me pass urine
- I would like to use a mirror so I can watch my baby’s birth
- If possible, I would like my partner to “catch” our baby
- I would like the umbilical cord to be clamped only when it has stopped pulsating
- I would like to be given medication to speed up the delivery of the placenta
- If my baby and I are fine, I would prefer not to have an episiotomy (a cut at the entrance of the vagina into the surrounding tissues to widen the exit of the birth passage)
- If my baby is fine – I would like my partner and I to hold our baby as long as possible before weighing etc
- I would like information to help me choose whether to breast-feed or formula feed my baby
- I would like to offer my baby a breastfeed as soon as possible
- I would like my baby’s first breastfeed to be in private and without assistance
- I have decided to feed my baby a formula
So you can see – birth plans cover all aspects of what you may encounter on your journey to bring your baby into the world and I hope these sample birth plans help!