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A birth plan

A birth plan

04.06.2015

A birth plan can improve your child delivery. Your caregivers will get to know you better once you write and share with them your expectations and desires about your childbirth. They will know if you'd like to give birth as natural as possible or prefer to avoid pain, whether you don't want a student doula to assist you, whether you like it when pictures are taken. And so on.

With a prewritten birth plan, your caregivers can better understand you and take into account your wishes. If you have a midwife, she and her colleagues will have a reasonable idea of who you are and what you would like. Please note that during delivery you may be transferred to some other doctor, this means that part of the birth you will not be guided by your own midwife, but by a physician assistant or medical obstetrician who has never seen you. In practice, I see that the hospital staff reads the birth plan very carefully and, if possible, adapt to the needs of the pregnant woman. For them, it is also nice to know something more about you and things that you wouldn’t like to discuss verbally ...

Another good reason to write a birth plan is that you will think carefully about what you and your partner want. Research shows that women who were well prepared for their delivery are more satisfied with it. The same is true for women who had the feeling that during their confinement, the assistants listened carefully to them and respected their wishes. These two points can inspire you to write a birth plan.

Tips for a good birth plan:

  • Keep it short. During childbirth, sometimes there is not enough time to read through a comprehensive plan. Try to make it not more than 1 A4 page. I also know birth plans that were only two sentences long. This is also fine.
  • Adress your plan to the person who will be responsible for the delivery. I remember my birth plan that began with "Dear obstetrician, it is good to have you here and to guide us in our confinement to which we have been looking forward to." I found this as a very nice start.
  • Do not demand. Remember that sometimes your wishes are possible to fulfill, but sometimes not. Try, therefore, to express the things you want in the form of a desire. For example: "I would like to leave the umbilical cord uncut for some time after the baby is born."
  • Dare to express things you want. Do not limit it with your fears and insecurities. Women have fears that what they want might not be available or is not possible. Or that others will find it weird. We have encountered with many odd things. From birth under a tree to leaving the placenta for 3 days. Everything is negotiable.
  • Once I supervised a birth of a woman who had written in her birth plan they wanted to give birth in silence. Of course, I respected that, and her baby was born in a complete serenity. If you have this kind of problem, do us a great pleasure and share this with us. Do not be shy!
  • Know that we understand that a plan can change during the pregnancy. If you've written that you want to avoid pain and you want painkillers during labor anyways, then no problem, we understand that the plan has changed.
  • Show your birth plan to your midwife or doctor. They can possibly give complementary or additional information.

I recommend to write a plan yourself. It does not take much time, but you express your own desires and that makes it valuable. Good luck with writing your plan!