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Is there really any point in writing a birth plan?

(73 Posts)
sprite25 Tue 01-Aug-17 16:50:11

I wrote a birth plan when pregnant with DD and when in labour and giving birth, the midwives basically ignored all my wishes and just did what they wanted anyway. Now I'm 32 weeks pregnant again and thinking is there really any point in writing a birth plan if it just gets ignored anyway? DH knows roughly what I would and wouldn't prefer this time round so can speak up for me if need be.

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FrizzyTizzy Tue 01-Aug-17 17:16:28

I'm also 32 weeks & wondering this. My birth plan was received with a bit of a sarcastic smirk with my first DC & completely ignored to the point where they brought in a male student midwife to observe whilst I was mid way through labour without my permission (birth plan explicitly stated no male or student midwives for personal reasons). The midwives were then horribly rude when I asked him to leave. Not sure whether to bother this time as they clearly don't use them!

Figgygal Tue 01-Aug-17 17:17:09

First time round I did but it never came out of my bag
Didn't bother with ds2

justanotheryoungmother Tue 01-Aug-17 17:19:09

I planned a waterbirth and potential epidural..

Ended up being induced in stirrups and only had gas and air. So, have an idea of what you would like if all goes well but don't think it'll necessarily turn out that way and remember that that's normal smile Good luck ladies flowers

Ellieboolou27 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:20:52

Didn't bother with either, find it all a bit pointless really, all I'd mentioned was I'd have any drugs available grin

LastOneDancing Tue 01-Aug-17 17:21:39

Of my 2 babies, the birth plan for my planned c-section was the only one worth doing.
Which seems counter-intuitive really.

NameChange30 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:25:53

Yes. I think it's worth having a birth plan. Not all medical staff read and respect it, but some do.

I had a birth plan which was actually my "birth preferences" and included my preferences in various scenarios. The first midwife couldn't have cared less what was on it hmm but the second midwife did look at it... I wasn't aware of what was going on half the time but I do have memories of moments of lucidity including when the midwife was pointing out something in my birth plan to a colleague.

I think it is important if there is anything specific you want the staff to be aware of eg if you've had PGP and that affects the positions you want to use or avoid.

A lot of people are anti birth plans because the birth doesn't work out how they hoped it would. I didn't get the birth I was hoping for but I'm still very glad I wrote the birth plan.

Oh and i think the way some of you were treated merits an official complaint angry Just because that happens doesn't mean it should, and hopefully doesn't mean it will happen to the OP.

AlpacasPackOwls Tue 01-Aug-17 17:29:14

My first sons birth went perfectly like I wanted it to. I know this is a rare occurrence (and my second certainly didn't). The midwife for my first did read through my plan and did keep to it and even reminded me of it when pain relief decisions were being made. I think it's a useful thing to have.

Beachbaby2017 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:29:38

lastonedancing, can I ask, what kids of things did you specify on your CS birth plan?

inkydinky Tue 01-Aug-17 17:34:22

I had one for my first. It was completely ignored. My second was a list of Do Nots (e.g. do not give me morphine without my knowledge. Do not give my baby formula without my permission) borne out of my first experience. I went through that one verbally to make sure that my wishes were clear. It seemed to do more harm than good as it was definitely lost in translation (no morphine without consent was interpreted as do not give anything, including paracematmol, even though she's had a section and is in agony). I didnt have a third baby. I'd have been making the midwifes sign the bloody thing first if I had.

So, write one by all means if it helps you clarify what you want but don't go in with the expectation that everything will be followed. Not least because noone can predict how your labour/birth will go.

Good luck whatever you decide!

aaahhhBump Tue 01-Aug-17 17:35:33

Same as Just water birth to induction. I did demand a full anaesthetic block the second time for the epiesiotomy (sp?). As never felt anything the first time.

bluechameleon Tue 01-Aug-17 17:36:06

My birth plan was completely ignored, including the references in large letters to my PGP - well, perhaps they didn't ignore it so much as think it didn't matter. I ended up attempting to push with my feet in stirrups in absolute agony (with the midwife telling me "you're not pushing properly", and also that the pain was just the contractions - I'm pretty sure that contractions aren't confined solely to your hip area). However, I am probably having an ELCS with the next one and am planning to write a birth plan for that. I don't understand the sneering attitude midwives have to them - they suggest you write one during antenatal classes, there's a template on the NHS website, so someone must think they are a good idea.

NameChange30 Tue 01-Aug-17 17:39:13

"DH knows roughly what I would and wouldn't prefer this time round so can speak up for me if need be."

Personally I think it can be quite difficult for partners to do this. My DH was very focused on me and probably a bit stressed out by seeing me in pain. He did remind the midwife about things in my birth plan but I'm sure it was made easier by the fact that I'd written it and talked it through with him - plus he had a copy of it to remind him. And if I'd been really in a bad way it probably would all have gone out of his head anyway!

Tbh I've come to the conclusion that if you really want your preferences respected then the best thing is to get a doula who can fight your corner when the time comes. You have to pay though so not an option for everyone.

JohnLapsleyParlabane Tue 01-Aug-17 17:55:23

For me it wasn't so much a 'plan' but a series of 'if X then Y' bullet points. It was really useful when everything got a bit intense and scary as it reminded DH I was not willing to consent to certain interventions so he was able to advocate for me without needing me to speak except for saying yes or no. Having written a birth plan helped me process things after DD was born as though I had an EMCS under general anesthesia, I really feel like I had a lot of control.

kiwiblue Tue 01-Aug-17 18:04:23

My midwife did read my birth plan and was very good at following my wishes. Some things she recommended went against what we had put in the plan and she would mention that and explain why she recommended something different. So I would recommend doing one. I also found it helped DH and I to discuss things beforehand that we wouldn't have otherwise, like if he wanted to cut the cord.

hexagon01 Tue 01-Aug-17 18:04:46

I wrote a birth plan that was very focused on natural birth and minimal interventions or drugs, free movement etc. I ended up with an infection, hooked up to an antibiotic drip followed by an emergency c section, but my midwife still followed my plan to the extent that she could, and I was grateful for that.

NotMyPenguin Tue 01-Aug-17 18:08:31

Birth plans can adapt; e.g. you might think you will prefer a water birth but end up hating it.

Have been thinking about this a lot as I approach my second labour. I honestly think I just want a few simple things in big letters: ASK rather than TELLING me; don't do anything to me without my informed consent (if I'm with it enough); and respect my decisions.

NotMyPenguin Tue 01-Aug-17 18:11:42

I wanted a home water birth last time, but transferred in to hospital when my waters broke and there was a lot of stinky meconium right at the end. The consultants were pretty atrocious: 'we have to', 'we will do xxxxx', starting to do a vaginal examination without asking my permission first etc. Still, I had a really positive birth experience due to the fact that my midwife was able to remain with me (there was a shortage at the hospital! I was so lucky!) and supported me by reinforcing my decision to push a bit more so I could have ventouse rather than forceps to get DD out. I felt really seen and validated by her. I can easily imagine that exactly the same physical birth experience could have felt invasive and disrespectful; it was how she spoke to me and asked my permission and informed me that made all the difference.

Yogagirl123 Tue 01-Aug-17 18:13:48

I honestly wouldn't waste your time, I write mine for 1st labour, and never got looked at! Didn't bother for my 2nd labour.

QueSera Tue 01-Aug-17 18:16:28

In my limited experience - no point at all

crazymissdaisy Tue 01-Aug-17 18:26:55

By the time I was having my 4th section I had a pretty firm idea of what usually happened to me and how my body responded to certain things e.g. morphine, what my blood pressure usually did. My last two were only a year apart and I had the same anaesthetist who remembered me from my notes. It wasn't a birth plan in the sense of a pre written sheet, but when I met the clinical team in pre op I asked if they would make a note of these points and they did. The only thing I didn't get was that I wanted to see my placenta and they said ooh no why would you want to look at that? I was just interested in this organ I had grown, but nope not allowed! V minor niggle.

silkpyjamasallday Tue 01-Aug-17 18:34:37

I didn't bother with DD, DP was fully aware of what I wanted in case I couldn't speak for myself - low intervention and gas and air, to be able to move around, but I was happy to do whatever they thought was best if anything were to go wrong. It went exactly to plan, I didn't see the point in writing it down.

Freshprincess Tue 01-Aug-17 18:42:34

I might as well have asked for George Michael to serenade me and Brad Pitt to tickle my feet for all the notice they took.
I had twins, I definitely did not want any students gawping at me. Guess what happened, every man and his dog got a look. I asked to be introduced to everyone there but also didn't happen. It was a very calm planned CS, so no excuse not to follow the couple of things I specifically mentioned.

Ghjklf Tue 01-Aug-17 18:42:39

I didn't with my 4 DC which was probably a good thing as it would have been a complete waste of time.

sprite25 Tue 01-Aug-17 19:16:37

Thanks for all the replies, like alot of you it seems like my wishes were just overlooked (the way I felt at the time was patronised) so I don't think I'll bother, just make sure I discuss with DH what I would prefer in different situations (I know labour and birth doesn't follow a plan and midwives are the medical professionals who know best but a bit of consideration for the mum would be nice grin)

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