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birth plans - is there any point?

(21 Posts)
bluemousemummy Fri 05-Sep-08 13:02:48

Just wondered whether anyone actually reads them!

I never had one with ds, just chatted to mw about preferences as was having a home birth. Am 30 miles from hospital this time round so am wavering over home birth option. If I make a birth plan will it actually be used by anyone? I can't picture it being passed round and read by the various people who look after you in hospital but perhaps I am being unfair.

francesrivis Fri 05-Sep-08 13:05:50

Like you I was unsure whether it was worth it, but actually I found it was - mws did read it and followed it where they could - where they couldn't they explained why not and asked my permission. Will definitely be doing one this time.

francesrivis Fri 05-Sep-08 13:05:52

Like you I was unsure whether it was worth it, but actually I found it was - mws did read it and followed it where they could - where they couldn't they explained why not and asked my permission. Will definitely be doing one this time.

Elasticwoman Fri 05-Sep-08 13:25:41

Having just printed out same birth plan for dd2's birth, I'd forgotten what was on it, and abruptly reminded when the mw's opening gambit was "i see from your birth plan that you'd like a waterbirth".

I think I had been assigned a mw who wanted experience with waterbirth.

The birth was a highly successful experience and we were well enough to go home same day. I might not have remembered to ask for the pool till it was too late, had there been no written birth plan.

GreenEggsAndSpam Fri 05-Sep-08 13:25:44

I wrote birth plans for my 3 births. They were read by all midwives when I went into labour and I was lucky that they could be followed out.

With #1 I had said I didn't want an epidural unless I really wasn't coping. At abot 7cm dilated I asked whether this meant I was too far along for an epidural (I was testing the iodea out iykwim) and the midwife gently encouraged me away from the idea. I had also said on my birth plan that I was a private person who hated losing control, and this really set the tone for how I was treated.

My last 2 were HB's and the first thing the midwife did with #2 when she arrived was read the plan. She then sat back and just watched me as the baby arrived 10 mins later. With #3 my midwife knew me from old, read the plan, laughed and said she wanted a copy as it was very short, funny and to the point (ie don't examine me unless a problem, leave me to it, I will let you know when I need anything).

I think birth plans are useful, but can't always be followed. I found it most helpful to say what I was like, as it is hard in labour to say - 'shut up! I want quiet' or 'I hate being talked about' for example. So, I said I wanted my births to be as quiet and calm as possible, with as little fuss as possible. I also said I felt patronised quite easily, and it made me angry lol!

Birth plans also helpful about things like Vit A and whether or not you object to students being present, or whether you want a physiological 3rd stage. As to what sort of pain relief, often you don't know till you are there, so best to keep your options open on that. They are also helpful in that they make you think about the possible options and outcomes so you are well informed about things that might happen.

Best of luck!

greenlawn Fri 05-Sep-08 13:56:37

I think there is a benefit to having a birth plan, as long as everyone understands that circumstances can change rapidly and you have to be flexible.

Mine have always been short and sweet - and discussed with the mw for a few minutes on admission, as I remember.

There was an article in the Saturday Times last week expressing some concern that some mothers want to plan their birth like its a dinner party! Its fantastic if it all goes to plan, but I wonder how people cope if they don't get the "perfect" birth they had hoped for. But the advantage has to be that at least you've said what you'd want to happen even if it doesn't pan out exactly that way.

Pruners Fri 05-Sep-08 13:59:47

Message withdrawn

cravingaquietlife Fri 05-Sep-08 14:03:51

There is a point as long as you are able to accept if thigs don't go to plan. If you have expectations that are then not met will you be dissapointed?

My birth plan was simple.... I'll do/have what I need to do, when I feel I need to do it and as long as I am holding a beautiful new bundle at the end then thats all that really matters.

CantSleepWontSleep Fri 05-Sep-08 14:05:25

Mine was read and followed last time, so have done one again.

Chequers Fri 05-Sep-08 14:08:07

The only person who ignored my birth plan was me.

When offered my requested water birth I said I'd rather have an epidural grin

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 05-Sep-08 14:08:11

I'd heard all the scoffing about birth plans, but went ahead and wrote a v simple one anyway. I was planning a home birth and included basic info, including things like names of my birth partners, the fact that DH did not want to cut the cord, preferences for pain relief etc.

I was pleasantly surprised that the first thing that each HCP did when we met them during labour was to pick up and read my notes and the plan. The MWs pretty much left me to it, including not offering things like G&A (I'd said that I wanted to ask for it myself).

I didn't see it as a 'this is how my perfect birth will go' kind of plan, more a guidance note for those looking after us. I think I did put a bit in about understanding that there might be a need for intervention, but just asked that people explained what was happening to me or DH.

BellaBear Fri 05-Sep-08 14:11:19

All I wrote in my birth plan (there was space in my notes) was that if possible I would like a water birth. They must have read that, because when I turned up I was too far gone to say anything rational (I spent most of the next three hours shouting, a lot and loudly) but the mw told me the pool was being filled up and then I did indeed have a waterbirth.

I didn't say anything about it, so it must have been the birth plan.

Snaf Fri 05-Sep-08 14:18:45

Absolutely worth it. I like it when women have a birth plan - gives me a good idea of a woman's expectations/wants/needs, etc. Like pruners says, sometimes it is hard to have a proper discussion with a woman in the throes of hard labour grin, so a birth plan is a good start, even if it doesn't actually get stuck to in the end, for whatever reason!

The key thing is to be realistic. But it is handy to have, particularly for things like pain relief, vit K, Keep it fairly simple, too - I have seen plans that run to several pages and are very complex...

MrsTittleMouse Fri 05-Sep-08 15:09:17

I was discouraged from writing a birth plan by my community midwife. This was a big mistake. Her rationale was that a lot of women see them as the absolute blueprint of how their labour and delivery will me, which sets them up for frustration and disappointment if things don't go that way. Fair enough. But in my case, I was very determined that my plan was to try as hard as I could for a natural delivery, but that if it didn't work out that I wanted a C section over an instrumental delivery (unless the baby was in distress and a CS wasn't feasible of course).

When I was in the birthing centre, it didn't matter, because the midwives were very respectful of everything I wanted and we worked together as a team. As soon as I was transferred to the care of the consultant, he refused to believe that I wanted a C section, and bullied me into an instrumental delivery, as he thought that my requests for a section were just ranting because I was in labour. angry As it happens I have found out since that I was a very poor candidate for an instrumental delivery which is probably why I still haven't recovered from it.

This time, my birth plan is not only written down, but has been signed off by the senior midwife, so hopefully my wishes will be taken more seriously.

staryeyed Fri 05-Sep-08 15:24:38

My birth plan was read and ignored but I went to a crap hospital. I will write one again because this time its a different hospital. Also need to give DP a talk about how to stick up for me when Im too exhausted to fight for myself.

Lib76 Fri 05-Sep-08 16:08:43

all i wrote was basically go with the flow! a baby will come out how and when it wants! i was happy to have any intervention as long as baby was safe and the end of the day!

my midwifes were aware of my feelings as we chatted a lot during labour, i had also had long chat with consultant few days prior to labour so we all knew what would be happening in terms of pain relief etc. in the end emergencey cs!

wendiwoo Fri 05-Sep-08 16:20:16

I think birth plans are an excellent idea, as doing it makes you think about the birth in advance... but it should be realistic and offered as flexible guide of your ideal scenario! I have had three children and each birth was different. It is helpful to think about the type of positions you want to try and the pain relief you may want, as when in the height of labour it can be difficult to rationalise your thoughts! (except to scream for an epidural or demand to go home!) That being said, I am not sure mine came out of my perfectly packed labour bag along with the massage oil etc!

JuneBugJen Fri 05-Sep-08 16:21:22

Simple answer, pretty much no!!

mustrunmore Fri 05-Sep-08 16:24:11

No one even glanced at mine for ds1, so didint bother doing one for ds2, but then again he was a planned section!

MrsBadger Fri 05-Sep-08 16:35:42

I had one and found it useful

if you keep it to a few salient bullet points rather than long rambling screeds MWs etc are more likely to take notice of it.

TBH writing it was helpful to me wrt sorting out my preferences, ideas etc about birth, even if no-one else ever read it.

notcitrus Fri 05-Sep-08 18:15:17

My midwife encouraged me to write one, keeping to a few bullet points on one side of A4. It's got a section of Important Points (communication needs, SPD warning, allergies, get explicit consent or talk to my birth partners, you can share my data with all of them, as little monitoring as is sensible, give me my baby ASAP and wash him/us later).

Then a couple points on pain relief and previous reactions to similar drugs, and a section of 'Stuff I'm Not Bothered About'.

The midwife at my 36-week appt suggested a couple tweaks for clarity, but I feel confident that anyone reading it and nothing else will be able to treat me properly. And at least I and my partners know what I do/don't/may want.

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