A birth plan may be something you look into if you have a desired birth in mind. For example if you’d like music to be played, the lights dimmed, an epidural and access to gas but no intervening tools if possible - these precise wishes can be communicated with your delivery team and your support person via a birth plan. It may simply just offer you cathartic activity during the final weeks of your pregnancy as you familiarise with what’s to come.

To be mentally prepared for a situation where the outcome doesn’t exactly match your proposed wishes is very important. If a ‘deviation’ eventuates, know that this is not a ‘failed birth’ and while you may feel disappointed remember that a safe delivery is what matters.

Writing a birth plan can be as simple as a piece of paper where you write down your wishes. Think about what’s important to you, what resonates, what makes you feel excited and prepared to meet your baby.

  • Are you open to pain relief? If so, what kind? Are there any pain relief options you are opposed to? When you’re experiencing the overwhelming nature of labour pains, you’ll be surprised just how hard it can become to communicate effectively. Having things written down on paper can be helpful for some people, especially those with succinct wants, desires, fears or even phobias.

  • Are there particular words that are stress inducing or triggering? If so, making this known to everyone in the room via your birth plan is helpful.

  • Are there particular people or names you do not want mentioned. For example; if your birth partner is not there for personal reasons and you don’t want to risk your obstetrician or midwife asking questions, by all means write this down.

  • What has a calming effect on you? If you’re in pain, in distress or unable to talk, providing your birth team and birth partner with a list of ways that tend to calm you, will allow them to provide the most relevant care. Perhaps you find a darker environment soothing? Is there a particular song or artist that relaxes you? A cool towel to the forehead? A warm shower or bath?

  • Would you like immediate skin-to-skin when your baby is born? In some cases, for the health and safety of the baby, there may be a delay in skin-to-skin. If this is the case in your situation and you’d like immediate reassurance, again… write it down.

  • Would you like your placenta to be dealt with in a particular way? If you do have particular wishes, be sure to talk to your obstetrician, your midwife or your birth hospital ahead of the birth to make any necessary arrangements.

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