Monday, 19 January 2015

Writing your Birth Plan

Essentially, a birth plan is just a list of our preferences. As women, we have so many choices when it comes to the type of birth that we would like. Whether it be a drug free, natural water birth at home or a drug induced caesarean section. Each birth is completely different, and it is important to understand that more often than not, your birth plan will not be strictly followed word for word (and, in my case, not at all...)

There are many benefits to writing a birth plan, such as:
  • It allows you to explore different facilities that are available to you, such as a birthing centre, suitability for a home birth, and types of pain relief.
  • It mentally prepares you for labour and birth and allows you to think through “what if” situations.
  • It familiarises you with the different stages of labour, pain relief, and different forms of intervention.
The best types of birth plans are ones that are kept short and to the point, ones that midwives can quickly look to and see your preferences. When writing a birth plan you should aim to include the following key points:

Personal Information – Your NHS number, name, and birthing partner’s name. 
Environment – Dim lighting, relaxing music, birthing pool. 
First Stage Preferences – Pain relief, monitoring, labour positions, eating and drinking.
Second Stage Preferences – Pain relief, labour positions, tearing, the birth, skin to skin, cutting the cord.
Third Stage Preferences – Whether you would like to deliver your placenta naturally or be given an injection to speed things along. 
Care of Baby – Breast/bottle feeding, handling the baby. 
Other Considerations – Be flexible with your preferences, understand that your plan may not always go to plan.

I done a lot of research when writing my birth plan, and at the time I must have thought that I was some sort of super mum that would have the most idyllic birth. Although my birth plan was rather lengthy I do feel that it is quick to the point and covers all angles, leaving room for flexibility.  

Birthing Partners
Chris - My Partner
Helen - My Mother

First Stage of Labour
  • I would like to remain at home for as long as I feel comfortable. 
  • I would like to call my Midwife for advice on when is best to go into Hospital. 
  • Use baths, breathing techniques, massage, dim lighting, and calm music to cope with pain. 
  • Remain as active as possible during labour with the use of birthing balls and walks - I would like to be able and encouraged to move around freely. 
  • I would like to be free to eat and drink when I want to.
  • I would like to avoid continuous (CTG) or internal monitoring unless there is a cause for concern.
Pain Relief
  • I would like to try and cope without the use of pain relief. 
  • Use breathing techniques, massage, dim lighting, and calm music to cope with any pain. 
  • If I ask for pain relief during a contraction please refuse and ask me again once the contraction has ended. 
  • If I am desperate please offer me gas and air.
  • I would like to avoid an Epidural and Pethidine injections during labour. 
  • I would like use of a Birthing Pool.
Second Stage of Labour 
  • I would like to find my own comfortable positions for pushing. 
  • Use gravity to labour naturally eg: all fours/upright position. 
  • Avoid laying on my back. 
  • If possible, I would like a Water Birth. 
  • I would like to know when my baby's head is crowning. 
  • I would prefer to tear naturally rather than receive an episiotomy, unless it is an emergency. 
  • I would like to avoid Caesarean Section/Forcep/Ventouse delivery. 
  • However, I would prefer to have a Caesarean Section over Forcep/Ventouse delivery. 
  • If an emergency Caesarean Section is required, I would like to remain awake. 
  • If an emergency Caesarean Section is required, I would like my partner Chris to be with me.
  • I would like the Midwife to advise me on what is best for a safe delivery at the time. 
  • I would like my baby to delivered straight onto my chest for skin-to-skin contact. 
  • My partner, Chris, would like to cut our baby's cord. 
  • If there is an emergency where our baby needs to be taken away my partner, Chris, will remain with her at all times.
Third Stage of Labor
  • I would like to have an actively managed third stage.
Vitamin K
  • We would like our baby to be given Vitamin K by an injection.
After Birth
  • I would like to try and breastfeed. 
  • Skin-to-skin immediately after birth. 
  • I would like us to have some alone time with our Newborn before any visitors come in. 
  • Immediate family to have a short visit once baby is born (Mum , Dad, Sisters, MIL, FIL).
  • We would rather longer visits to occur when we are at home and settled.

    There you have it, my complete birth plan. As previously mentioned, my birth plan was hardly looked at but certain wishes were able to happen. Talking from experience, I'm not so sure that I will bother writing a plan for our next baby. When it came down to it I didn't care what happened, as long as Florence came into the World safe and sound that was all that mattered. However, I do think that it is important to become familiar with the birthing process so you enter the experience with some knowledge. 

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