Writing a birth plan helps ensure you have active involvement in your baby's birth. It will identify how you wish the birth to be carried out, and your plans for the family after the birth. Carefully consider all your options and preferences and discuss them with your partner and birth attendants to establish a happier and more comfortable labour. Having a birth plan can mean less stress and save you having to make big decisions at the critical birth time when you may not be thinking as clearly. It is a good idea to discuss your birth plan with an experienced GP, midwife, or antenatal teacher who will be able to advise you on the type of experiences that other mothers have had and what suits you personally.
The plan may be laid out as a list, letter, or how ever you feel it's easiest to express yourself.
Listed below are some things you may want to be a part of your plan.
- People and items you wish to be present at the birth, and how you would like them involved.
- Location of birth, ie home or hospital
- Positions for birth
- If necessary, medical induction of labour, or spontaneous start.
- Type and frequency of monitoring
- Types of pain relief, ie pethidine, epidural, gas, diversion, breathing techniques, etc
- Level of guidance / interaction requested from caregivers
- How you would like complications to be treated, ie, breech birth, caesarean section, episiotomy.
It is a good idea to have discussed your birth plan with your partner and caregivers by your eighth month of pregnancy.