Being pregnant gives you a lot to think about. Your diet, your general health, exercise, the nursery, baby names and of course the birth.
When the time comes for baby to make its entrance into the world, you’ll want to be feeling as calm and relaxed as you possibly can. It isn’t easy, especially if it’s your first baby because you just don’t know what to expect. Making a birth plan can really help you to focus on the birth and you’ll be more relaxed if you know that your midwife is aware of your wishes. Here’s just a few things you might like to think about for your birth plan:
The first thing to think about is where you are going to have your baby. Your midwife can talk you through the options. Many women have home births and this is a choice you can make if you have a low-risk pregnancy. You may though, prefer to be in a hospital. Your midwife will give you details of maternity units near your home.
Family and Friends
Who do you want with you when you are in labour and when you give birth? You don’t have to restrict yourself to one person. You can have your partner with you and a friend, or your mum. It’s good to have people around you when the contractions kick in, they can offer you support and make sure you don’t get too anxious.
If you’re giving birth in hospital, they will provide you with equipment like bean bags, balls and mats. You can also bring your own things from home. If you want to use a birthing pool, if one is available, put this on your plan.
When you’re in labour tell your midwife if you’d prefer to be walking about, or you are more comfortable in a bed. It’s also a good idea to discuss birthing positions. If you’ve had a baby before, you’ll be more aware of what positions made you feel more comfortable. It might all change on the day, but writing it down will help you to get an idea of how you’d like to be to give birth.
When your baby’s born, you can ask to hold him or her immediately, or put in your plan that you’d like the baby cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket. You might even decide that your partner takes the baby first and you hold baby afterwards.
Write it down in your plan if you decide you want to breast feed. Talk about it with your midwife and other women in your ante natal group. Don’t worry if you find it difficult at first, not all babies latch on immediately. If after trying it, you’re not comfortable or it’s too painful, don’t feel guilty if you want to stop and don’t let anyone at the hospital guilt trip you into doing it if you really don’t want to.
Use your birth plan to tell your midwife if you have any special needs. You might not speak English as a first language, or you may be hard of hearing or disabled. Also, mention in your plan if you have any allergies to food or medication.
Don’t forget, the plan is to give you an idea of how you’d like things to go. Try not to be too rigid and accept that things might not go to plan. That way you won’t be disappointed if you end up without a birthing pool, or having to have a caesarean. Remember all that really matters is that mother and baby are healthy and happy!
However be prepared to tear up the birthing plan as pregnancy and birth isn’t alway predictable. If it all goes out the window don’t become disappointed human nature is in control and not us.