You may have envisioned your birth by now, with the hope to ensure your wishes and goals are communicated to your birth team & midwives on the big day.
Considering the many stages and moving parts (or people) to your birth experience - this starts as soon as you call your midwife en-route to the hospital & first step foot into your birthing suite.
Having a birth plan ensures that your preferences are succinctly communicated to your birth partner and medical team.
Keep in mind that things can change so it's best practice to have an open mind and have a plan that allows flexibility to change direction if needed.
We recommend keeping your birth plan simple, and to a maximum of 2 pages which will allow any new medical staff joining you on the day, the chance to absorb your wishes quickly (and less likely to miss your preferences).
To be able to give more context, I have included my own birth plan which you can download as an example & a fillable blank template for you to download.
Birth Plan Statement
Your statement, should you wish to use one (very helpful if you are planning to use hypobirthing / calm birth or similar practices), should ideally mention 4 key statements
- Your understanding of medical advice & how it should be delivered to you so that you can make informed decisions and provide consent
- Your understanding that for whatever decisions you make are your own responsibility (whether guided by medical staff or not)
- Your understanding that your birth plan might change & that you will inform your providers if you want to make any changes
- What your care provider should do, should they recommend deviations from the birth plan
Your Birthing EnvironmentNow let's talk about a highly overlooked part of your labour experience, your environment!
- What can we see?
- What can we hear?
- What can we taste?
- What can we feel?
- What can we smell?
MonitoringWhile monitoring is important, you do have a say as to what type of monitoring and how often. This includes vaginal checks and monitoring bub's heartbeat.
Positions for BirthThis is a great guide for your midwives to be on board with you and to encourage you to keep moving according to your preferences. For example, you may not want to labour on your back as this can narrow your pelvis.
Any positions that encourage open, upright and forward positions will help baby engage and move down more freely.
Pain ReliefMake your intentions known from the start as to what pain relief you are open to (if any) and how the medical staff should recommend other options.
Second StageThis is the pushing stage. Should you wish/not wish to be guided by the staff, this is the part of your birth plan to communicate this.