When a birth plan focuses on what you want to happen in labour and birth, it can be dismissed as useless if there is no flexibility. So many women comment that they threw their birth plan away and this is why it needs to fit all births and focusing more on care and communication does that.
Your birth plan
Start with a brief introduction to say hello to your midwife, maybe include what you are aiming for and anything she needs to know such as anxiety, issues with movement, any medical issues.
Intro – Hi, I am Kate. I would ideally like a waterbirth and I would like your help to work towards that. However, I also know that birth can be unpredictable so I would like your help to keep me informed, so I know my options and to work with my contractions.
I can become anxious so I may need help to manage that and I like to be informed so I know what is going on and what my next steps can be.
My birth partner is my husband Richard and he is keen to support me as best he can.
Positions – I would like to be able to move and have gravity to help my contractions and to be as comfortable as possible off and on the bed, including with an epidural.
Breathing – Please can you encourage me to focus on my breathing to stay as calm as possible, to get rid of tension and to manage my contractions.
Information & Options – I would like to be kept informed of my options, especially if labour isn’t straightforward. We may ask questions to gather information and to know what to do next.
If a caesarean becomes necessary please explain what is going on and what will happen next.
If something is not possible, such as using the birthing pool, can we look at alternative options? Can you give me support and reassurance to keep going?
Pain Management – I am keen to use water with gas & air and breathing techniques to work with my contractions. If this needs to change please can you encourage me to continue to use what is helpful for my labour – rest, positions, breathing.
Birth Room – It would be great if the room can be calm and quiet so I can focus on my contractions and on rest. I may want music, I may want the lights to be dimmed and I may want to move about.
Support, Encouragement & Reassurance – Please help me to keep going, to rest, to work with my contractions, to listen to my body and to give me information if I need to make decisions.
My Baby – Ideally, I would like to have delayed cord clamping and I am keen to have skin-to-skin for as long as possible. If this can’t happen, please can you talk to us about it.
We don’t know the sex of our baby so we would like to find this out for ourselves.
We plan on bottle-feeding/breastfeeding (choose which applies to you) – please can you support us with that.
Talk To Us – Clear communication is very important to me so I can understand what is going on, so I can continue to do what helps me and my labour and so I can make any decisions. Asking me what I need will also help me to focus on how I am doing and what would be helpful for me to remain as calm and comfortable as possible.
These are just ideas for what to include in your birth plan – tailor this to include what is important for you.
The aim is to focus on good care and communication rather than a specific way you would like labour and birth to go. This is about your wellbeing however labour and birth unfolds so you are included, informed and at the centre of your care.
A birth plan can work really well – try to see your birth plan as a tool to communicate with your midwife so she can talk with you both and support you through any challenges.