What is a childbirth plan?
A birth plan is a written record detailing your choices, needs and preferences for when you go into a labour.
A written plan is an excellent idea for indicating to the medical team what you want to happen. You may have already discussed with your midwife and doctor about your preferences, so a plan can just refresh the memory of your doctor and can help them instruct the medical team.
Some hospitals do provide birth plan sheets with their own policies and philosophies regarding child birth.
It is important that you discuss your options with your midwife and express your preferences when it comes to labour. Remember, this is your pregnancy and you must feel comfortable and relaxed about it. A midwife can answer any questions you may have and relieve any anxieties.
What should I include in mine?
The most important section of the birth plan is the method of birth. It differs with each mother. Alternative methods of childbirth are slowly becoming common practice when it comes to labour.
Hypnobirthing is one of the alternative methods; it helps the mother through the process by giving her a sense of control of her own body and pain. You can take classes that teach you breathing exercises to give you a sense of relaxation.
Birthing pools are considered a form of natural birth. This method can help ease contractions by encouraging relaxation in a pool of water of 90-100 degrees. The baby is then born in the pool of water.
Another form of natural birth than some mothers opt for is drug free labour. In this case, the mother gives birth without any pain relief. Whatever you choose, it is advised to thoroughly research these methods and discuss them with your midwife.
Include the location where you want the birth to take place, if you wish to have a water birth, indicate where it will be e.g. at home. You may want to create a soothing atmosphere during labour, suggest what music you would like. Any equipment you need such as a birthing stool, bean bags or any machinery needs to be mentioned on your plan. If you have decided on having pain relief
, this will let the doctors know what relief you would like.
You may want to try different positions that will benefit the labour and give birth easily, discuss these options with your midwife and indicate which position you would like to be in.
Prepare for complications
Keep in mind, your plan might not go smoothly, be prepared to have a back-up plan in the event of complications. Also, the earlier you create your birth plan, the more time you have to change your mind. The plan is just to give an idea of your preferences; it is not set in stone. It is vital that you seek advice on any alternative methods, the doctors and midwives are there to provide support and will abide by your wishes.
Giving birth is supposed to be a momentous occasion, so create a plan that will allow you to celebrate the moment.
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a free-lance writer and experienced personal trainer. He enjoys spending time with his family and watching football.