Written by Feba Maryann
The day you give birth to your precious baby is an important milestone of your parenting journey. Creating a birth plan helps you to make important decisions regarding your labour beforehand. It is a way of letting your healthcare providers how you want to be treated. However, you need to be flexible. You might need to change your birth plan if something unexpected happens. You can never be too prepared before going into labour. A birth plan allows you to focus on giving birth to your baby, avoiding sudden discrepancies.
Try to be as short as possible and make it easy to read. Here are a few details your birth plan needs to cover:
- Where Do You Want To Give Birth?
Where you give birth plays a vital role in your pregnancy experience. Consider previous pregnancy complications and medical risks involved with your current pregnancy while you decide. Ask your midwife to explain the different options, analysing the risks and benefits involved with each choice. Possible places could include:
- Your Home
- A Hospital
- A Midwifery Unit/Birth Centres
You can also ask your friends and family about their experiences with different options to give you an idea about how it is to give birth in different places. If you decide to go ahead with delivering in a hospital, consider booking a tour around the hospital to check the available facilities. Giving birth in a hospital is recommended for high-risk pregnancies. You can opt for a midwife delivery centre or your own house if you are less likely to need any interventions. In case of unexpected complications, you will be directly transferred to a hospital.
- Birth Partner
You will need a lot of practical support before, during and after childbirth. Choosing a birth partner should be your personal decision. You could choose any of your family members who can reassure and comfort you. Some women hire an experienced Doula to help out. She/he should be sensitive to your needs and provide you with the motivation needed to go through labour. You should be very comfortable with your birth partner. Talk to them how you want them to help you.
- During Labour
Even the smallest decisions can affect your birthing experience like the positions you would like to try out while giving birth. Some women prefer moving around during labour. Do whatever feels right for you after looking through different positions. You could also specify if you want any music to play in the background or if you would like to have the lights dimmed. Be sure to have a clear idea of pain relief options. Talk to your midwife about the best pain relief methods so that you can make a well-informed decision. Specify if you need special requirements like observing certain customs, birthing pools etc.
- After Labour
After giving birth to your baby, you need to think about hospital care and feeding plans. You can choose to start breastfeeding right after labour or you can combine it with bottle feeding. You could opt for kangaroo care which helps you to bond with your baby, regulate his/her heartbeat and so much more. It is also important to decide if you want to be with your baby all day. Part-time nursery care for your child can give you the rest you deserve. If you have a baby boy, you might need to specify if you need to circumcise him. Talk to your doctor to analyse the risks and benefits involved with circumcision.
It’s important to seek professional help while making strong decisions about your birth plan. Keep your health and the health of your baby as a number one priority. Review your birth plan with your health care providers to resolve any potential conflicts that could arise. Once you set a birth plan, give a copy to your doctor, birthing partner and your midwife. Keep a copy with yourself for future references. Remember that everything might not go according to your plan. Certain circumstances might need you to alter your choices here and there, so keep an open mind to any unprecedented changes and be flexible.