This blog isn’t to go into the detail of my personal birth preferences, as I’m keeping that private. But it’s more to highlight the value in actually having a birth plan, and to encourage other mums to be to not be put off making one by other people.
The amount of people who’ve scoffed at the idea of a birth plan to me has been offensive if I’m quite honest. So what if someone wants to plan the best and most relaxed birth they can. So what if it does go out of the window at the time of birth, it was still worth doing in the first place if it makes that woman feel more prepared on the run up to labour. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.
I always knew I’d have a birth plan, but I never understood how detailed and important they can actually be. It wasn’t until I read The Positive Birth Book that I truly understood the value of writing down your birth plan, or I like to call it, my birth preferences.
Not only are your birth preferences so you can write down and plan how you’d like your labour to go, they also should be read and fully understood by your birthing partner, your community midwife and the medical staff on duty when you go into labour. These are the people who will support you in your choices, and help you to have a positive birth experience. If your birth partner/s know your birth preferences inside out, they can advocate for you so you can focus on your labour, so you don’t have to worry about remembering or communicating your choices to anyone.
The book I read whilst on holiday completely shaped my birth plan. I learnt SO much about all of the options available, and it armed me with all the knowledge I needed to write and plan a birth that was right for me, Paul and our baby.
We have been doing a digital hypnobirthing course by The Positive Birth Company, and they provide a birth preferences template and sample copy, which makes it super easy to create your own without leaving anything out. I literally copied and pasted a lot of the content, changing bits here and there to suit our situation. It took less than an hour and it made me feel so calm and relaxed knowing that I had this piece of paper to take with me when I go into labour.
Our community midwife came to our house to discuss the birth plan we’d put together, to ensure we’d covered everything, and to ensure that the options we’d chosen were available at our allocated location of birth. This was part of my 34 week appointment.
Your birth preferences isn’t really a birth plan. It’s a collection of your preferences for different eventualities of labour. We have preferences for a natural birth, induction and Caesarian section if needed. Not only has this educated me about the options for each of these, but it’s also made me feel really calm about each scenario, as I know my preferences will be followed where possible, so I can have the most positive birth experience I can do no matter how my labour pans out.
Yes it’s true you can’t ‘plan’ a labour in the sense of planning exactly how it’s going to go. No one knows what’s going to happen in labour, how you will cope mentally or physically, or other complications that may arise. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be prepared and educated, so you understand your rights and are aware of everything that’s available to you.
So please, please don’t be put off by people telling you not to do a birth plan because ‘it won’t go to plan anyway so what’s the point’. It’s so much bigger than that. You do YOU, because you’re the one who’s bringing life into the world and it’s the most important thing you’ll ever do in your entire life.
Did you write down your birth preferences? If so, did you find it helped you prepare for the big day?
Love Mrs E