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Any advice on writing a birth plan?

(33 Posts)
dizzymama Thu 06-Jan-05 14:11:31

I'm now 38 weeks pg and, although I've thought about how I'd like the birth to go, I still haven't got round to putting it in any order like a birth plan. I really have no idea how to do this and all the books I've looked in give different advice. At this rate I'll be handing the midwives an essay!! Has anyone got any suggestions or examples??

nailpolish Thu 06-Jan-05 14:15:22

write the birth plan, put it in an envelope and stick it at the back of your drawer. when your baby is 6 mths old take it out and have a right laugh.

only kidding.

just write down a few things that you would like to do but wont be in right mind to say to the mw's. like cordcutting, do you want the babe wrapped 1st or plopped on your chest? how are you planning to feed?

if you have a birth partner tell them too and they can rely your choices to the mw's.

lots of luck when babe comes along!!!

Sallie Thu 06-Jan-05 14:19:06

I would just make your birth partner aware of issues that are of particular importance to you. From what I have heard, birth plans can annoy midwives and doctors. In any case, its important to remain flexible in your mental attitude towards the impending labour. As long as you trust your birth partner and the health professionals looking after you, things should go swimmingly. I think all I said to dh was that I would rather avoid a cs if at all possible as was a little worried about the high rate at my hospital. But obviously would have had one if absolutely necessary.....Best of luck
I would forget the birth plan and just relax about everything.....

Bagpuss30 Thu 06-Jan-05 14:21:07

Do a series of headings and write one or two sentence answers to each heading. try to keep is to one side A4. Your care plan/notes may have some suggestions in and so do some books. You could use those as a starting point. Good luck.

LIZS Thu 06-Jan-05 14:24:16

There isn't a right or wrong way to do it - you really don't have to do one at all !

Try listing in bullet points under headings of things that are really important to you, such as what type of pain relief you do/don't want, whether you (or dh/dp) want to be involved in the actual delivery/cutting cord/identifying sex/bath, what you want to do postnatally as regards 3rd stage/feeding/being left with baby and dh for a while etc.

Make sure when you have finished it that you and dh/dp (or other birthing partner) talk it through so that he can then become your advocate while you are focussed on the job in hand !

hth and good luck

Momof2 Thu 06-Jan-05 14:26:17

Dizzymama - I was talking to Dp about this last night and made sure that he knew about things I felt strongly about and also about who got to hold the baby 1st etc. He also knows about my blood group and other medical stuff, just in case.
All the rest of it I am very flexible about - on my last birth plan I wrote that I was to have no pain relief and would do everything naturally - and about an hour after arriving at the hospital I had an epidural put in (LOL!) Thinks Sallie's advice is spot on.
Good luck

Sallie Thu 06-Jan-05 14:30:08

I guess I am lucky as dh is a doctor and therefore I completely trusted that he would make the right decision for me if necessary. I do think its best not to present the midwives/doctors with a long list though....
Best of luck - you will be fine!

Blackduck Thu 06-Jan-05 14:31:02

Agree with others here - talk through wth your partner what you do/don't want, but also be prepared to go with the flow! A friend of a friend ended up asking for pain relief only to have her other half say 'no, we agreed it would be a natural birth' The midwife told him to bog off

oatcake Thu 06-Jan-05 14:36:12

birth plan? it gets glanced at and then forgotten about by midwives / doctors at the moment of birth! lol.

You would be better articulating your points during your labour rather than making a list - or there may be an area in your notes where you're encouraged to write some things down.

In my experience, at the point of delivery you're asked if you want the baby plonked on your tummy (if you're lying down), and as for the sex, we just usually hold the babe up so you can see for yourself. Then, there's plenty of time to ask dad if he wants to cut the cord.

birth is a moveable feast and as long as you're respected and listened to throughout the process, a birth plan is unnecessary.

Lua Thu 06-Jan-05 14:37:07

I think noone will have th etime to read an essay if it is a mad rush... so I'll try to make sure they know your top priorities. For example I was adamant about breast feeding and having no drugs. I wrote these things down in gieant letter and stuck to the door to my room. So no one entrying could miss it. As some say, you need a certain flexibility, but that doesn't mean you dont have a few thing that you really want to have it done a certain way. I'll have those few things in clear display, so there is no misunderstanding.
Enjoy your birth!

dizzymama Thu 06-Jan-05 14:39:57

Thanks everyone, I'll definitely make sure I sit DH down tonight and let him know what I'd prefer to happen (Blackduck, your comments made me lol, think I'd tell him to bog off rather than the midwife though!!!) Have noted down a few major points but will probably just give paper to DH rather than midwife. Thanks for putting my mind at rest - now...off to re-pack the hospital bag for the umpteenth time!!

zubb Thu 06-Jan-05 14:40:18

keep it as flexible as possible, and as others have said make sure that your partner is aware of what you want / don't want.
Does your midwife go through it with you at all? The only birth plans that I did were in the notes that I kept with me for the doctor / midwife, and it was a very general thing.
I think they are helpful as it gives the chance to make sure that your partner is aware of what you want and can support you in that choice.

Ronniebaby Thu 06-Jan-05 16:31:33

with my first DS they just ignored everything I put in the BP.

But this time round they adhered to everything.

I can cat my birth plan.

My midwife said dont be toooo negative, but if there are things you definitely want ot dont then word it like " do not want unless deemed necessary, but want to be asked first"

I couldnt fault my midwife this time, she was Excellent

MistressMary Thu 06-Jan-05 16:35:00

keep it very, very simple and expect anything to happen.
I actually didn't bother though.

Gwenick Thu 06-Jan-05 16:42:14

Try to do 2 or 3 different scenarios in it ie

Plan A - if it all goes swimmingly - how mobile to do you want to be, do you want to be monitored a lot or would rather minimum moitoring, what pain relief would you like, who do you want to be there with you, do you mind having students there (if you get there in mid labour you may not be 'sane' enough to decide LOL), do you want the baby delivered onto you, do want them to tell you the sex, or perhaps DH or yourself find out, does DH want to cut the cord, are there any 'personal' issues which they should be aware of (I had a gynological problem which they needed to be aware of during labour), how do you want to feed, what pain relief would you like etc etc

Plan B - if you need intervention - how do you feel about ventouse, forceps, C-section etc etc, 'if' Plan A doesn't go right is there anything you'd still reall like to happen if at all possible. etc etc

Plan C - if things end up totally 'off' plan is there anything you REALLY don't want to happen.

My MW for DS2 was AMAZING at helping me with as much of my birthplan as was humanly possible when I was in labour - I wanted to be mobile and minimum monitoring, as little pain relief as possible, no CS unless 110% medically nessecary - ended up being induced, monitored almost constantly and pumped with every drug going (not that any of it worked!) - however she did her best to make sure I was off teh monitor for as long as possible, the Consultant wanted to do a CS (and by that stage I wanted one too) but she helped DH put his foot down and although it was an assisted delivery in theatre I got my VBAC - and I was SO glad of it.

huggybear Thu 06-Jan-05 16:47:35

i wrote one with ds1 but as soon as it started hurting it was all forgotten about - didnt even get it out of my bag

didnt bother with ds2, i felt that i trusted the midwife to take care of me and the baby and to do whats best

wild Thu 06-Jan-05 16:48:23

I think it is a great idea to prepare yourself by making a plan but bear in mind theory and practice are two different things. I had visions of a water birth and even made tapes of the music I'd listen to, in the actual event I couldn't fancy getting into the bath let alone the birthing pool. It wasn't that it was traumatic as such, just that I felt quite differntly to what I'd imagined. Ended up watching car chases and Nigella in bed. While on pethidine. It was fine, just not what I'd imagined. Good luck and let us know the news.

Pidge Thu 06-Jan-05 17:05:46

Well, I'm a big fan of the birth plan even though little went as I would have liked it first time round!

I wanted as natural a birth as possible, with minimal intervention and ideally using water to labour and possibly give birth in. Instead I had a 3 day labour, not dilating, waters broken, still not dilating, epidural, syntocin and finally gorgeous dd!!

BUT .... the midwives were fantastic and they DID read my birth plan and they DID follow it, even when I was hollering for an epidural. In fact they suggested breaking my waters, to see if that would speed things up and avoid the epidural. And I'm really grateful to them for doing that because it meant I felt pretty positive about the labour, as I know that everything was done that could have been done, and that all the intervention that I had was necessary.

So I would say - DO write one - but bear in mind that you may need to be flexible. I think that's often misunderstood about birth plans - they're not supposed to be set in stone. Also agree that it's very important that your birth partner is there to shout for your rights.

ZoeBristol Thu 06-Jan-05 17:11:25

Dont..when your mid flow you wont care, notice and your partner will be too overcome to read !!! go with the flow then you wont be dissapionted if you dont stick to it . I WANTED every drug going but no such luck with both births both came from first contraction within the hour !!! wanted pool birth didnt have time to put the bloody plug in..... Goodluck you'll love it (the birth that is )

Gwenick Thu 06-Jan-05 17:20:30

Zoe - I'm not sure about 'not caring' - I certainly cared even mid-flow - when 2 shots of pethidine, and numerous 'top-ups' of epidural had been given and I was still in agony (was told I was very 'unusual' for NONE of the pain relief to work)

ZoeBristol Thu 06-Jan-05 17:26:03

I had very rapid births just no time for thinking about anything.. but iam sorry for your experience how long ago was it

Gwenick Thu 06-Jan-05 18:23:26

Zoe - it was 13 1/2 months ago - god it was awful (mind you I still want a third) didn't help that once the consultant came on duty he failed to listen to my DH, the 2 MW's who'd been with me or read my birth plan and proceeded to basically not give a damn about my gyno problem.

Despite still having vivid memories about it all I'm still happy that I managed (well just aboug with the help of forceps - I hadn't managed to move him at all) to have a VBAC - 1st DS was born via CS after no labour at all

hunkermunker Thu 06-Jan-05 18:43:54

I wouldn't agree that midwives get annoyed with birth plans or that they only get glanced at. I put mine in my notes and didn't even mention it - they all went straight to the pages and read it from beginning to end.

I'd included every eventuality (albeit in short bulletpoints - it wasn't an essay!) - I just wanted them to know what I did and didn't want. As it happened, my birth did go to plan, but I'm quite sure that it wouldn't have done had I not had my birth plan. I had a waterbirth with no other pain relief and a natural third stage. I did also have a second degree tear, so perhaps it didn't all go to plan - but DS was 8lb 10oz...

scubamum Fri 07-Jan-05 11:00:58

if you don't know the sex, for us it was lovely for us to find out rather than mw tell us. Advised not to make a decision during a contraction (unless risk to baby/mum)- likely to agree to anything. It was not in the plan - they did not get time to read it (baby was making a quick exit) but did ask what was in there.

Also think about what positions you might feel comfortable with during labour - For me kneeling on the floor resting my arms on the edge of the bed was most comfortable, but only so because I took 2 large cushions into the hospital to kneel on.

all the best

4kids Fri 07-Jan-05 12:01:26

Its a good idea 2 have a birth plan like positions 4 giving birth , what pain relief u want , if u want 2 hold baby straight away ect .But sometimes your requests r ignord .& pain relief u might want only g&a but alot of pep throw that chioce out the window & go 4 stronger. Try 2 stick 2 a birth plan if pos good luck.

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