Making a birth plan
A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You don't have to create a birth plan but, if you would like one, your midwife will be able to help.
Discussing a birth plan with your midwife gives you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happens in labour.
It also gives your midwife the chance to get to know you better, and understand your feelings and priorities, and allows you to think about or discuss some things more fully with your partner, friends and relatives.
You can change your mind about your wishes for labour and birth at any time.
Things to consider for your birth plan are:
- What are the things that keep you calm and happy? Can you have them around you at home during early labour, or bring them with you to the hospital?
- Where do you think you will feel most comfortable during labour and while giving birth? This is where you will be most likely to achieve a complication free birth. Click here for information on where to have my baby
- What positions do you find most comfortable? Click here for information on positions in labour
- What kind of pain relief would you like to use? Which kinds do you want to avoid? Click here for information on pain relief during labour
- Are you happy for the midwife to give your baby an injection of vitamin K after birth? Click here for information on vitamin K for newborn babies
- Has your birth partner practiced giving you a back massage or a shoulder rub? You might be glad of it in labour
- Are you happy for the midwife to give you an oxytocin injection to help bring out the placenta after the baby is born? Click here for information on management of the 3rd stage of labour.
You can work out whether there's anything you feel strongly about and might wish to include.
Your personal circumstances
Your birth plan is personal to you. It depends on what you want, your medical history, your circumstances and what is available at your maternity service.
You might be given a special form for your birth plan, or there may be room in your notes. It's a good idea to keep a copy of your birth plan with you.
The maternity team who care for you during labour will discuss it with you so they know what you want.
You need to be flexible and prepared to do things differently from your birth plan if complications arise with you or your baby, or if facilities such as a birth pool aren't available.
The maternity team will tell you what they advise in your particular circumstances. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you need to.
You can download a birth plan template to fill in and save. Download a birth plan template here
Click here for tips for how your birth partner can support you.