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Have your written your Birthplan?

Tuesday, 15 September 2015  | 

I have reached the stage in pregnancy where I am starting to think about the actual birth. In the first few weeks your mind is on the tiny life growing inside of you - the anticipation, the excitement and the worry. Oh, and trying not to be sick on anyone. But there comes a point where you have to start to think about the big finale - going into labour and giving birth. It's not the most romantic of topics, but it is something that needs thinking about - to prepare the mind if anything else.

Most women will write a "Birth Plan" - a document to set out the way you would like to give birth for those caring for you in labour. It is a place for you to say what you would really like to happen, and to note down any things you would totally like rule out. The things you might want to consider for your birth would be positions to labour in, if you want any pain relief, if you would be happy for your labour to be sped up if your contractions slow down, how you would feel about an assisted delivery and how you would like your placenta delivered. You can make a birth plan online on the NHS website here: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/birth-plan.aspx

Whilst this is a novel idea, for me I really think it is impossible to have any kind of plan when it comes to birth. Your body will do exactly what it wants and when it wants. (Or in my case, what is doesn't want - with my son I went fully overdue and had to be induced - that certainly wasn't in my plans!) I think it is a great idea to have a sense of how you would like to progress in your labour, but you should always be mindful that it might not turn out that way - and it's OK if it doesn't. There is nothing you can do to make your labour a certain way - it is entirely unpredictable and out of your control. While this can be a scary thought, you can equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible so that you are prepared for whatever your labour brings you. Read about other people's birth stories so you know about the different experiences that women have, and don’t set your heart on one particular thing - say for example a water birth. Sometimes, for whatever reason, it is just not possible.
When I think about going into labour all I can ask if that my baby and myself are safe - and any decisions made are for the best reasons. I hope I have a good rapport with the midwife who delivers my baby and that it is as calm as possible. I won't be writing a birth plan this time round, as I know first-hand how unpredictable labour is, and I don't want any additional pressure on myself. I will be thrilled to welcome a healthy baby into the world, however it gets there.

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