If you are pregnant or trying to conceive you may have heard of a birth plan, but what is it and why do you need one? A birth plan is actually just a list you can create of what you would like to happen during your labor and birth. You can make it as detailed as you like and include things like who you want in the birthing room with you, your choices for pain relief, or even your feeding choices after birth. You may want to sit down with your birth partner and discuss the things that are important to you for your upcoming birth so they are able to advocate for you too. A birth plan is another way for women to feel in control and empowered about the birth of their child, so check out these tips about making a birth plan and what to include.
You may want to start your birth plan with some basic information such as your personal details and details about your pregnancy, for example, your due date, health complications or allergies, and medications you are currently taking. Then once the basics are covered you can start on the plan for your labor. List who will be in the room with you and what you would like to be available to you during labor. This could be music or aromatherapies, different laboring positions, items to help you such as an exercise ball, or the use of water. If you plan to have a birth photographer you can include them in your birth team.
Next on your plan might be pain relief and medical interventions, speak to your midwife or health practitioner about what options will be available to you so that you can make an informed decision. Remember every woman's birth plan is unique to them as are their birthing choices and there is no right or wrong way to write one. When it comes to the delivery of your baby, you may want to use a mirror to see your baby crowning or have your partner help deliver your baby. In the event of a c-section, you still have choices as a birthing woman. Speak to your hospital and care providers about what is available to you.
Immediately after the birth, this is where you can specify all your choices for your newborn baby such as skin-to-skin contact, your choices for feeding, and your plans for your baby's cord blood and placenta. A birth plan is a great way to prepare yourself and consider all your choices. It can also help open up dialogue between you and your health practitioners and help you have a better birth experience. It's a good idea to make a few copies of your birth plan so you can give them to your care providers. If you want to do some research before making your birth plan visit antenatal classes, chat to women who have given birth at the same hospital, and speak to your midwives or health practitioner. If you don't want to make a birth plan, that's ok too! Remember every woman's needs are different and what works for some, won't work for others. If you enjoyed this blog then check out my essential baby checklist