Going to plan
What to include in your birth plan
Giving birth to your first baby is a once in a lifetime experience, so you’ll want to ensure you’ve considered everything. From birthing positions and pain relief, to playing music during labour, writing down your preferences in a birth plan will keep your partner and midwife informed of your wishes.
How to write a birth plan
- Your birth partner : State who will be with you in labour and whether you want them with you at all times.
- Labour and birth positions: Would you like to be moving around, using a birthing ball, or on all fours? Think about how you might be most comfortable.
- Pain relief: Breathing techniques, water, gas and air, or epidural? List the pain relief you’d like to use and the order you’d prefer it in, and state any methods you don’t want to use.
- Where you’d like to give birth: Hospital, birth centre or home, where would you like to have your baby? If you choose a home birth, make sure your midwife can attend.
- Assisted birth: If you need help giving birth, state whether you’d prefer forceps or ventouse.
- Feeding your baby: If you plan to breastfeed, make it clear if you don’t want your breastfed baby’s feeds to be topped up with formula.
- Unexpected situations: If your baby has to go to a special baby care unit, how involved do you want to be with their care?
- Medical conditions or disabilities: Include any information about medical conditions or disabilities that can help your midwife on the day.
- Cultural or religious needs: If English isn’t your first language and you need an interpreter, let your midwife know. If there are any religious or cultural practices to be carried out after your baby is born, include these.
- Other considerations: Ambient lighting; uplifting music; whose voices your baby hears when they enter the world… think about the whole experience of this once-in-a-lifetime event and add as much detail as you want.
Once you’ve written your birth plan, talk it through with your midwife to ensure your preferences are possible. They will also be able to answer any questions and discuss options. Remember, this is a plan and it could change during labour. But, rest assured, any alterations will have your baby’s best interests at heart, and you will always be consulted first.