How to write a birth plan
Where to begin?
A birth plan is a written summary of your preferences for labour and birth. It outlines your goals, wants and how you would like to be supported by your care provider. It is something that we discuss in great detail in our Hypnobirthing Positive Birth programs, so that women and birthing people and their birth partners come away feeling empowered and excited for their birthing journey.
Whilst many believe birth plans are a one-way ticket to disappointment due to the unpredictability of labour and birth, we believe they are just the opposite.
This is your opportunity to take back your birth and write your own birthing story. If created with knowledge and understanding, flexibility and clear communication with your care provider, birth plans allow parents to remain in their power, and encourage doctors and midwives to maintain open communication lines with you so that you can all work together as a team!
A birth plan should detail what is important to YOU.
Each preference will be carefully researched, understood and decided upon. It is not a list of preferences you found on the internet because they sounded like a good idea!
Be specific when you need to be and create a plan that allows you to be prepared for whatever pathway your birthing journey takes. Studies show that feeling informed and maintaining a sense of power and control over the events of labour is what leads to maternal satisfaction no matter the pathway your birthing journey takes.
So, think about the words you use and the openness and flexibility of your plan.
If you write:
“I want to have a normal vaginal delivery with no intervention,” it has an underlying tone of inflexibility, and an unwillingness to cooperate and communicate with your care provider. It is also unclear of what you truly want and of the care they can provide to you. How do you want to be supported so they can help to facilitate this outcome? Can they still listen to baby’s heart rate?
What would happen if we reworded it like this:
“If possible, my goal is to have a vaginal birth with minimal intervention. To help facilitate this, I’d like you to help keep my birthing environment calm & dimly lit. I’d like your support to mobilise and help me to utilise water whether it be in the shower or the bath where possible”
This not only opens up communication lines between you and your care provider but shows that you are well informed.
Having a plan that discusses the openness to the varying pathways your birthing journey might take also shows to your care providers that you are open to discussions and listening to their concerns and any changes they might like to make to the provision of your care due to evolving situations. This does NOT mean you are ready and willing to consent to anything and everything straight up and they should not expect this of you either but to know that you have an open and flexible line of communication is the key to success and a positive and empowering birth experience.
Still not sure where to start?
Read on for a few of Little Bird Flies tips and tricks to creating a birth plan that’s right for you!
“To our midwives/obstetrician,
Thankyou for being apart of our journey, we look forward to working with you and trust that you will help us to attain a positive, healthy and empowering birth experience.”
“We have outlined our preferences below, and want you to know that should special circumstances arise we are open to your guidance and working together to facilitate the safe arrival of our baby.”
SO, WHAT MIGHT YOU COVER ON YOUR BIRTH PLAN?
The Birth Environment:
- Do you have a preference of who is in your birth room and supporting you?
- Do you want music playing?
- Do you have an essential oil diffuser?
- Do you want the room dimly lit? DO you have tealight candles (Electric!!!) or fairy lights?
Pain Relief options:
- Do you want pharmacological pain relief? Epidural? Gas & Air? Pethidine?
- Do you want pain relief to be offered to you or will you ask for it if you need it?
- Do you want Non-pharmacological pain relief: heat? water? TENS machine?, massage?
- Do you want a water birth if available?
- Freedom to move and birth in the position that feels most comfortable and right for you…
- Do you want “coaching” prompts or do you want to breathe and birth instinctively…?
- Do you want warm compresses to the perineum?
- Do you want to allow for the natural delivery of your placenta?
- Do you want delayed cord clamping?
WHAT IF INTERVENTIONS ARE BEING PROPOSED?
If special circumstances arise:
- Do you want to be kept well informed so you have time to ask all the questions and be an active member in the decision making process?
- Feeling empowered and having an active role in the decisions being made around the birth of your baby is vital to Maternal satisfaction whether the birth went as “planned” or not.
Caesarean Section Preferences to think about:
- Do you want the atmosphere of the theatre to remain calm, quiet and peaceful as possible?
- Do you want delayed cord clamping still?
- Do you want a vaginal swab to be taken so it can be smeared over baby’s face and mouth at birth?
- Do you want a maternal/paternal assisted C-sec?
- Do you want your baby to be placed on your chest straight away if there is no medical reason to not?
DO YOUR RESEARCH:
- The above suggestions are just a couple of examples you might choose to have in your birth plan, get curious; read all the articles, books and blogs and listen to all the podcasts!
- Be aware of all the different pathways your birthing journey might take and be ready to ask questions and take an active and empowering role in the birth of your baby!
- Birth is such an incredibly exciting and life changing experience, and you deserve a journey that is empowering, positive and well supported!!
- And remember, it doesn’t have to be a long and intricate plan, it might just be a few dot points of what you would love to be able to achieve if possible!! It’s all about what makes you comfortable, happy and well supported!
If you still have some questions, feel free to give us a call at Little Bird Flies, and we can discuss our range of courses that cater to any schedule and any learning pace. We offer hypnobirthing classes in Melbourne.And you can take online classes from anywhere in Australia – Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Townsville,Darwin, Perth, Adelaide,Hobart, Central Coast, Geelong, Newcastle and Canberra