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How to Write a Birth Plan...

Knowing where to start for your birth can be daunting. It is hard to see what you want and what is available. Here are some tips on how to write a birth plan.


Firstly, understanding what it is can help massively. A birth plan communicates your preferences and wishes for your labour and birth experience to your healthcare team. A birth plan helps ensure that your healthcare providers understand your desires and can work with you to create a positive and supportive birth experience.


There can be a fear around building your birth plan. Many people think that having a plan means you are not flexible. However, the beauty of the birth plan is less in the physical plan and more in the homework to build your plans. Because, YES, you will be writing more than one. Don’t get me wrong, having a physical birth plan is beneficial to your birth partner and your care team.


I recommend THREE birth plans. Start with your ideal birth (Plan A), then move on to other interventions, pain relief, or a location change birth (Plan B), and always include a C-section birth (Plan C). Of course, your C-section plan may be Plan A or B, and that is fine.


Make sure you get your birth partner to discuss the birth plan as you are writing it, as they need to know what your thought process is, and they implement the plans.

Okay, now we know what it is and why it is essential. Where do we start?


1. Research and get informed.

Before writing your birth plan, educate yourself about the birthing process, common interventions, and the options available to you. Attend childbirth education classes, read books, and talk to other mothers about their experiences. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions and preferences for your birth plan.


2. Choose Your Birth Preferences

Consider all aspects of labour and birth and think about what matters most to you. Some key preferences to consider include:

  • Labour environment (e.g., lighting, music, presence of loved ones)

  • Pain relief/ comfort measure options (e.g., epidural, natural methods)

  • Labour positions (e.g., standing, squatting, using a birthing ball)

  • Monitoring preferences (e.g., intermittent fetal monitoring)

  • Birthing positions (e.g., squatting, hands and knees)

  • Immediate postpartum preferences (e.g., skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping)

  • Newborn procedures (e.g., eye ointment, vitamin K injection, breastfeeding initiation)


3. Use a Template or Format

Birth plans don’t need to be fancy. Simply find a template (you are welcome to use mine; please message me for the template). They can be visual or written, as long as your birth partner can translate this for your care team.


4. Be Clear and Concise

Use clear and straightforward language to communicate your preferences. Avoid medical jargon or complex phrasing; remember, this is for you to explain what you want clearly. Bullet points can make your plan easy to read and understand.


5. Review and Revise

Review your birth plan regularly during your pregnancy. Update it if your preferences change or if you learn new information.


Birth plans are a valuable tool that can help you navigate your care, give you confidence, and let your birth team know what you are happy or not happy to accept.

 



 




 

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