Writing your birth plan can be a wonderful thing to do in the weeks leading up to the big day. It helps to focus your mind on the kind of birth you'd like and what you would feel comfortable with.
Being in labour is a time when a lot of women can feel vulnerable. Communicating your desires may also be a struggle as you concentrate on managing the pain and partners may be a bit distracted to be much use.
So writing it all down beforehand is a wonderful tool. But it can lead to high expectations and perhaps disappointment.
Here's our guide to help you.Remember
This is more of a wish list and not everything will be in your control. Think of your plan as a guide for your midwife. Write it as a list or with short paragraphs under clear headings, there may not be much time to read pages.
State who you want to be with you. Also write whether you would be happy to have a student participate in the birth or just observe and if you mind a male midwife.
Are you happy to have this? If so what would you like? If you are open to the midwife's suggestions include this and whether you're going to use a Tens machine, hypno birthing techniques or massage.
If you would like to be active during birth state this and any preferred positions. If you would like to use a mirror to see the baby's head emerging write it down. If you are keen on a water birth or would like to use a birthing stool or ball include these.
If you're trying for a natural labour after a caesarean you may not have much choice on whether you are continuously monitored but it is still possible to be active in labour. Similarly state if you do not want to get out of the birthpool to be monitored.
We all hope we won't need any intervention, but it's a good idea to face your fear. State if you would be happy, if necessary, to have your membranes ruptured, your choice of an episiotomy or tearing, and if you prefer ventouse or forceps.
Other things to consider
Include whether you want the baby to be lifted onto your chest, whether you would like to discover the sex yourself, who is to cut the cord, whether it should be cut straight away or wait for it to stop beating, if you'd like the lights dimmed or if you'd like the room to be as quiet as possible during delivery.
After the birth
Are you happy for the baby to have Vitamin K orally or via injection? How would you like the placenta delivered (natural third stage or drugs) and how you intend to feed the baby? Would you like the baby cleaned before being handed to you? Do you want to wait for a while before having the baby weighed? Do you want a six-hour discharge or would you like to stay overnight? If you have any special needs include it here.
Remember though that your birth may not go according to the plan and that you may change your mind, which is all absolutely fine.