Each woman’s experience of pregnancy and birth is individual and it is important that you consider how you would like to be cared for during your pregnancy, labour and birth, as well as afterwards. Preparing a birth plan is a way for you to communicate with the doctors and midwives about the type of care you would like, the people you’d like to be involved and the belongings you want to have with you.
Many women find having a birth plan helps them feel in control and involved in the decision-making processes of their maternity care. It provides an opportunity for you to inform your caregivers of any cultural, religious or personal requirements that may be important to you and your partner and facilitates discussion about whether your wishes are able to be accommodated given your chosen model of care.
It’s important to remember that with pregnancy and childbirth things may not go to plan or you may change your mind along the way. The best birth plans are flexible and not set in stone. This will reduce any potential stress and disappointment should things happen that are out of your control.
When putting together a birth plan it is a good idea to be well informed of your options. Some things you might like to think about for your birth plan include;
- Birth companion/support person
- Positions for labour and birth
- Pain management
- What to do if labour slows down
- Labouring in water and waterbirth
- Monitoring your babies heart rate
- Assisted delivery
- Third stage (delivery of the placenta)
- Clamping of the umbilical cord
- Postnatal care of your baby
- Feeding your baby
- Unexpected situations