The Honest Guide to Your Birth Plan
Saturday, 7 July 2018 | Admin
The Honest Guide To Your Birth Plan
I remember being asked whether I had a birthing plan when I was pregnant with my first born in 2010. I had to Google what they meant, surely the plan was just to give birth? Was I missing something? Yes.
A birth plan is a written record of what you would like to happen when in labour and after, when your baby has been born. I laminated mine. Not sure why, but it made me feel very organised.
You’ll probably have discussed The Plan with your midwife. I remember my conversation and my mind being boggled as to how much there was to think about, what did I want?
Suddenly, I was asking myself so many questions. It was so overwhelming.
So, here’s a list of things to think about:
- Where do I want to give birth; hospital? Home? Birthing pool? (anywhere but the back of a taxi on the way to hospital would be a good start!)
- What pain relief do I want? This is a biggie. With both of my labours, I have been open (literally!) to any form of pain relief. Whatever I needed, I would ask for. You don’t get a medal for going through labour with no pain relief. With Lily, in January 2018, I had only gas and air, and this was only given to me when I got to 9cm dilated. (Had they given me a medal or trophy for this, I would have gladly accepted. It would have been bloody well deserved!) There is a lot on offer; gas & air, TENS, epidural, injection, no pin relief? I seriously couldn’t do it with nothing, but to those of you who can, power to you!
- Who do I want with me as a birthing partner (BP)? My partner? Sister? Mother? Next door neighbours auntie? Seriously think about this, this person will see you at what may probably be your worst (when your contractions are at a max & you’re effing and blinding at everyone) and they will be one of the first people to see your new born. I had my mum and husband on both occasions. You need to trust this person and they need to keep a level head throughout the labour.
- Do I want any ‘equipment’ whilst in labour? Not as scary as it sounds, you may find mats, bean bags, birthing balls all help ease pain when in labour. I didn’t use any of them to be honest – I was just trying to concentrate on breathing!
- Do I want to be active when in labour? Do I want to walk around? Bear in mind if you have an epidural as pain relief you will be bedbound.
- Do I want my BP with me if a ventouse (a cap fitted to the bead of your baby to help guide her our) or forceps are used? Some people do, some don’t – its completely your choice. By this stage in the labour your BP will have seen it all (literally) so I’d be happy to keep them with me at this point.
- Do I want my BP’s with me if I need a caesarean section? This could either be a planned section or an emergency. I had a section with my first in 2010, I was allowed only my husband with me. I was happy with this, there were approximately five doctors and nurses operating on me and so just having my husband looking down at me and reassuring me at this point was best.
- What position do I want to give birth in? Standing, laying, on all fours, squatting, on your side? Seriously, when it comes down to it – you won’t care, you will just want to get your baby out safely. Whatever works.
- Do I want skin to skin with the baby? I loved my babies being placed on my chest as soon as was possible. That closeness, your baby in your arms after all those months. Bliss.
- Do I want to try feeding? Am I bottle feeding?
I know. I know When you read all of the above, it really IS overwhelming but don’t forget you’re not just making a weekly shopping list for Asda. You’re bringing a baby (or multiple!) into the world, via your lady bits. This is a big deal.
By all means, make your own list and discuss it with your BP and midwife, but please remember, a birthing plan is NOT set in stone. Things can change VERY quickly when you’re in labour.
The aim of the game is to give birth. However this happens, the chances are it may not all be in your control. Just be prepared for everything. You’ll be fine.
As soon as you see your little one, you’ll forget about any of the pain!*
All the best, Hannah
*until you need stitching up..