Some women wish to complete a birth plan prior to going into labour. A birth plan is a way for you to communicate with your midwives and Obstetrician about what you would like or not like to happen during your labour. Often these birth plans are written early in your pregnancy, however you can do this at any stage.
All women need to be informed in order to make the best choices for themselves and very importantly to be involved in any decisions relating to their treatment, you should also consider any specific cultural needs that are important to you in your birth plan.
Most hospitals accept these birth plans but it is important to realise that everything may not go to plan, every women’s pregnancy is different and of course every baby is an individual. The most important outcome is that every baby is born safely.
Before writing a birth plan it is vital that you gather as much information as possible and speaking to your Obstetrician is very important. It is the Obstetrician’s responsibility to provide expert advice in a caring manner to “maximise the safety and well being of mother and baby” (RANZCOG) This advice includes information on pregnancy, birth and the post natal period. In addition to talking with your Obstetrician attending antenatal classes is another way of gaining more information and also by talking to your birth companion about their wishes.
Every birth plan can be different but some topics that may be included are: birth companion, positions for labour and delivery, pain relief, assisted delivery (eg forceps delivery) and your preferred method of feeding.
For some women the safest way to deliver their baby is by Caesarean Section (this can be discussed with your Obstetrician) even if an elective Caesarean is planned a birth plan can still be written. You might still include information for your birthing companion, your feeding choices etc.
Having a baby is a very joyous occasion, you are welcoming a new baby into the world to join your family. It is useful to have a birth plan, but remember to be flexible and to be adaptable if all doesn’t go quite to plan.