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Birth plan basics(37 Posts)
Hi, first pregnancy and have a basic birth plan question. When do you start putting one together? Is it something discussed at midwife appointments? If so when? Did you find that the hospital took the time to read them?
I wrote mine thinking 'what if someone has to read this and digest it really fast?', so it covered one side of A4, with lots of double-spacing. I took about 5 copies into hospital with me. One was for my DH, which turned out to be quite important. At the time I wasn't really sure if it was necessary, but as one thing led to another I ended up having a C-section under general anaesthetic. When they were putting me under my last thought was about the birth plan and the fact that the decisions we'd made about Vitamin K (for example) were all down in black and white and things would happen as I wanted them to happen (as much as they could) while I was unconscious.. DH was obviously a bit panic-y while all this was going down, so having our list of wishes and decisions was comforting for him too. He could focus on the here and now without having to try to remember a conversation we'd have a month ago, that all felt a bit theoretical at the time.
I would keep it short and sweet too. Just the things that you really hope for/really would like to avoid. I wanted baby straight on to chest for bf with mine, er I think that was it.... [rubbish plan]
Be flexible and don't forget first babies usually arrive quite slowly, time to change your mind if you want.
My Mw told me first time round that the birth plan was to ensure you knew what to expect and what might happen. She said even if you wanted a water birth it might be occupied so do another birth plan for that, and one for a cs.
No one looked at mine, and we just decided as we went along- well dh did as I was out of it mostly and in no state to decide. The most important thing for me is your birth partner knows what you want, what can go wrong and what decisions to make. My dh saved my life by requesting a 2nd opinion on a procedure as he knew from reading up the risks involved. - the original surgeon has since been disciplined and is not practising.
Dh told the Mw in the labour room stuff like he wanted to tell me the sex, bf ASAP etc.
I had my 2nd abroad and I had " the baby is not hospital property" across the top of every page. In the UK, you are encouraged and expected to have your newborn with you, bf etc. where I was, they like to whisk them away for " tests" bathing, and bottle feeding, plus baby stays in nursery. We had to change hospitals at one point as they flat refused to allow the newborn when it arrived in the room with me, even if it was perfectly healthy, even though I planned bf.
I wrote mine at about 36 weeks. I spent hours thinking it through and writing it perfectly. It went out the window when my waters broke with meconium in them, and we discovered in due course dd was breech. It never even got looked at. I think the process of writing it was good for me getting my head around what would happen <clutches at straws>. None of my carefully packed hospital bag was used either and I wish I'd been a bit more prepared for a couple of nights in the hospital.
My birth plan was actually written by DH.
I'd like to arrive at hospital with my wife in labour.
And bring her home at some point after with a baby.
I never did one, just went with whatever was happening at the time, and if i needed anything i asked I think at the end of the day, they know what they are doing, and so let them get on with it
I think it is important to have found out about things like the baby having the vit K injection (helps prevent haemorrhage in the baby) and having the injection to release the placenta because you often just aren't in a sufficiently compos mentis state to answer the question when they ask it of you!
I had both - DSs having vit K for me was very important, as I had been anti-coagulated throughout pg and although it shouldn't have affected the baby at all, it was still a concern and a risk I didn't want to take.
The placental release - I had a friend who had given birth in the pool, lovely birth, all went well but then took over an hour to deliver her placenta naturally, all the time holding her baby above the water, which was hard work because it was a short cord and in the end she had to get out of the water anyway because it wasn't happening and the water was getting cold - too much faff. Once you've got the baby, IME you just want it all to be over and the placental release jab sorted that for me.
For my plan, these questions were asked specifically - also a question about whether or not I wanted the baby to have the BCG vaccine (London area) - and then there was a space to write down anything not covered by the specific questions. This was very helpful.
My first one was a bit verbose (although not of the music and candles variety). In the end the most valuable thing was DH knowing what I wanted because I was out of it (long second stage, ventouse delivery).
Second time round it had on it the bullet points of what mattered to me
- Minimal drugs
- Pool please
- Let me move where/how I want
- I may say I want to push and not mean it as I just want to get it over with
- Vitamin K yes please
- Natural third stage
- I reserve the right to change my mind on any/all of the above
I only changed my mind about the third stage, and the birth was not in the pool as DS was too comfy
I may have commented quite loudly that I was going to give birth in the corridor as I got out, causing several midwife sniggers. But otherwise a much better experience than DD. Again having DH well briefed was important, especially on the pushing point.
I think for next time (when OH lets me get pregnant again....) I'll put
- Yes to vitamin K injection for baby
- Would like the cord to have stopped pulsing before being cut (so baby gets lots of lovely placenta blood)
- Would like to labour in the pool please.
- Skin to skin and attempt to BF straight away
- Have OH present at all times.
- Try and avoid pethidine if possible (last time it made the baby very sleepy, and as a result he didn't feed for about 6 hours).
- Go home as soon as possible.
If you feel strongly about a certain type of pain relief (lots of people do / don't want an epidural)' write that down. When you're five cm dilated and in pain, you don't want a midwife starting from scratch with all the pros and cons if you've already discussed / read up on the subject.
I think something like "I have discussed pain relief with midwives at ante natal appointments and would like X" saves a bit if faring when it matters.
Sorry, "saves a bit of faffing when it matters"
If you don't know where to start, this online birth plan at NHS Choices is a good place.
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