How to write a birth Plan

The real value is in talking about it, exploring, researching and talking about your options, whilst not under any pressure to make a decision. Your birth partner needs to know your thoughts and feelings, that way they can truly advocate for you when and if needed.

It’s sometimes better to think of your plan as preferences, if you say it’s a plan, and it doesn’t happen it could feel like you’re off track, whereas preferences allows you to express what your ideal would be, but explores other options too. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is allowed, when thinking about your birth, express what you would like and see what can be achieved.

Birth partners need to know and the ‘why’ and be on the same page. Now is the time for discussion, not in the birth room, ultimately a woman’s preferences need to be respected, if her birth partner isn’t in agreement, they need to look at what makes them feel that way, research, get expert support and get onboard, or perhaps they are not the right birth partner, even if they are the life partner or parent of the baby.

There is always plan b, discuss that too, birth can be unpredictable and discussion will make you feel prepared. The unknown is scary, knowing what could happen if interventions are needed and how you can still make this experience feel positive, will impact of how you feel after your birth.

You can choose whatever format you wish for your birth preferences, however if it is too long, I would suggest a summary can be really helpful, one sheet with the main bullet points about what is important to you at each stage. This is much more likely to be read and therefore acted upon, especially useful if midwives are changing shift etc.

A sign for the door can serve as a useful visual reminder to people entering your space, it might be a reminder to keep quiet, not to enter unless absolutely necessary, a reminder of a rainbow baby, or your wishes about having a student present.

Some birthing people say they will ‘go with flow’. Understanding that we can’t control every aspect of birth is one thing, but not making any preparations is quite different. If you were planning a holiday , would you just turn up at the airport, see what flights were available , travel and go with the flow for accommodation when you landed? Thought not! Put some time into your birth planning too.

And finally, make it real, visualise it, how will it feel, what will the room look like, what can you see, what positions will you be in, who will catch your baby, the power of positive thinking is harnessed by successful people and top performing athletes, tap into this for your beautiful birth.

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