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Did you have a birth plan? Was it at all useful?

(33 Posts)
aliceemma Sun 06-Sep-09 14:01:41

If you had a birth plan was it useful?
Did the hospital take any notice or did you get carried along on their advice?
What did you have on your plan that was useful?

BetterBitOfButter Sun 06-Sep-09 14:03:28

My entire birth plan consisted of "whatever happens i REALLY don't want to have a C section". 26 hours in to labour, guess what ... I think unless you are very lucky and shoot your DC out no problems there's only so much planning you can do!

Meglet Sun 06-Sep-09 14:13:24

Mine was useful for giving me a good chuckle afterwards grin. The usual 'I would like to avoid a c-section' birth plan, which ended in an em cs. I still think they are a good idea as they get your head round what might happen and what pain relief /intervention you would prefer.

The birth plan for my el cs for dc2 was a scribbled 'can I have skin to skin in theatre and see the placenta please' on my notes. It went to plan that time.

LackingNicknameInspiration Sun 06-Sep-09 14:14:49

I didn't, purely because it was my first, I didn't have massively strong views and trusted the MW to get on with it - if I'm being honest, I also didn't think they'd take any notice of it!

I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised when the MW went straight to the birth plan section of my notes to look for one and then came and asked me about it - fortunately I was able still to talk - the only preference I had was for the MW-led unit/pool and I was already in those - oh, and preferred not to have an epi but only because I was scared of the needle and TBH I'd probably not have written that as was quite prepared to change my mind on it.

So, it might have been useful to have one - if you don't, make sure your birth partner knows if you have any strong views - my DH did last time and I'll probably do the same again this time - only because I'm unlikely to be organised enough to write one this time!

Congratulations by the way.

violethill Sun 06-Sep-09 14:18:28

I would recommend a brief plan which outlines anything you feel really strongly about. eg if you have strong issues about not wishing to have certain forms of pain relief, or if you are very keen on a water birth, then it's worth making that clear.

I would be wary of being too prescriptive though. The women in my antenatal group who wrote 6 page plans detailing how they wanted to be massaged with particular types of oil, or have their partner doing African drumming in the corner as the baby emerged, were the ones who ended up with Csections!!

The only things mine stated were that I wouldn't to be as mobile as possible, only monitored where necessary, and definitely didn't want an epidural. Yes, the hospital did take notice.

violethill Sun 06-Sep-09 14:19:34

whoops wanted to be mobile!

AddictedtoHeatmagazine Sun 06-Sep-09 14:22:43

Although I think a lot of people's births don't go according to their birth plan they can still be worth doing. A lot of mums feel quite anxious and out of control about their impending births and writing a birth plan makes them feel a bit calmer about it and give some sense of control.

It can be useful for your birth partner to have an idea of what you'd like as well in case you're quite out of it at the time. Things like do you want to find out the sex yourself/cut the cord/feed straightaway?

puffylovett Sun 06-Sep-09 14:34:26

I definitely felt more in control knowing what I wanted, and luckily I pretty much got 80% of it. Although the midwives were pretty shock that I wanted a physiological 3rd stage, they didn't really know how to cope with that one !

This time around, the things I've made clear are mobility/water, to be left alone, ask permission prior to any kind of fanjo firkling and no formula to be given under any circumstances. The rest I shall take as it comes [smile}

JJ1471 Sun 06-Sep-09 15:45:22

Mine wasn't very detailed, but the midwife did read through it and took notice of it. I think that when you're pregnant and worried about the birth it helps to have thought everything through. If you're knowledgeable about different options e.g. types of pain relief, then it's easier to make a decision if you're given a choice.

I did put in my plan that I'd like to avoid an epidural, and the midwife reminded me of that when I was begging for one, and said that it would be a shame when I didn't really want one! I think that I was in transition at that point though so it probably was too late anyway. I also put that I wanted to be mobile in labour and not be lying down for the birth, but I ended up needing to be continuously monitored anyway so there was nothing I could do about that, at the end of the day it all comes down to what is safest for baby and you.

PacificDogwood Sun 06-Sep-09 15:52:06

Personally, I have never had a birthplan (3 DSs) as I did not feel very strongly againat anything and I trusted the MWs and DRs who where dealing with me.

Professionally (I am a GP) I have seen woman whose sense of "failure" after a delivery that did not go as hoped for was heightened by the fact that they had written "no epidural" for instance, but in the situation still wanted/got one. IMO, make sure you feel well informed about your options, if you feels stronge about various options then make sure you draw up a short and succinct birthplan - and then be mentally prepared that is might ALL go out of the windon at the time wink.
BTW, I've had one induction, one emCS and one (fab) VBAC I am hoping to repeat soon smile!

LittleSilver Sun 06-Sep-09 15:54:51

I had - please don't announce the gender, we want to find out for ourselves. I would have been very unhappy if they had announced it for us and they didn't so that was good. Also had no epidural under any circs, and the mw came and discussed it with me asking if I meant that even in the context of a CS, and I said yes, so I think they are essential. Even if it does go off plan, you have got much more input into it

They CAN'T examine you without consent; it is illegal and assault.

MrsBadger Sun 06-Sep-09 16:00:26

I did and it was

it was a brief list of bullet points of my preferences rather than an essay though

I was classed as 'high risk' despite a perfectly normal healthy pg, and it was worth its weight in gold to have my preferences written down to wave at the over-eager registrars.
The thing that helped most was the note 'NO INTERVENTION UNLESS CLINICALLY INDICATED' signed by the Prof who was head of the whole dept... no junior doctor was going to conradict that without a damn good reason!

ThisBoyDerekDrew Sun 06-Sep-09 16:04:59

I did - and it was very useful.

The MOST useful thing about it was the fact that writing it made me sit down and plan/think about what I wanted/didn't want, what options might be open etc. It forced me to think. Don't forget to consider different scenario's. IF x happens would I be happy to do Y (i.e. second choices).

When I got to hospital it was read, and my MW discussed aspects with me - and I was fortunate to get things as I wanted them.

What could have been better for me was a MW talking to me about it BEFORE I went into labour...which I wasn't given the option to do.

notcitrus Sun 06-Sep-09 16:14:59

Mine was invaluable - I did as the midwife recommended and kept it to 1 side of A4 with bullet points. It was more a quick reminder of my vital medical info, then preferences:
'as little monitoring as is clinically sensible',
'am very scared of the idea of epidural but not ruling it out for pain relief',
'please get my explicit consent for everything unless I'm incapable in which case talk to MrNC.'
'I'm more worried about exhaustion than pain' etc

Then there was a 'things I don't care about' section! Didn't want to sound too fussy...
It may have been coincidence but every person who encountered me until the postnatal ward (about 50 in the end) treated me exactly as I'd have wished - even if it did get mildly annoying being asked if they could take my blood pressure every 15 minutes.

The most useful bit was 'happy to have students present under supervision, but if I really need an epistiotomy/stiches, I want them done by an expert!' Said epi and stitches were being admired 24 hours later and by all later docs who saw them!

ZippysMum Sun 06-Sep-09 16:33:07

My MW told me to tape my birth plan to the outside of my green notes folder.

She also said to capitalise and highlight where I had put 'the babies are to have no formula without written permission from me or DH'

She said she has seen a lot of cases where formula is routinely given to twins and if I felt that strongly I should make it very clear!

Don't know if it was any good - haven't had them yet..

The funniest BP I've seen was on here a few weeks ago, I can't remember whose it was - (sorry to the 'owner'..)

"Get him out
Keep carnage to a minimum
Don't tell me if I poo"

PacificDogwood Sun 06-Sep-09 18:08:24

As ThisBoyDeredDrew said, as a tool to make you stop and think and consider your options (and even think about whether you have preferences or not)I think BP are great. And I am not saying everybody thinks the way they would LIKE thinks to be is how it is GOING to be..

LOL "don't tell me if I poo" grin

slushy06 Sun 06-Sep-09 20:45:53

I wrote mine out both times making sure I had contingency plans e.g csec to be performed only if medical professional feels it will risk my life or harm to baby to continue with natural labor or epidural to be administered only if absolutely needed although epidural preferable to section.

But I didn't give it to mw second time I gave it to dp and made him memorise it as he would be able to fight for what I wanted and I thought Mw would take more notice of him saying no to something rather than her trying to remember exactly what I had written and me being to tired to remember or care.

If I had a third I would give the birth plan to dp again.

spicemonster Sun 06-Sep-09 20:49:33

I had one for vaginal and one for CS which was based on one that another MNer had done after feeling really out of control in her first labour.

It was brilliant having it because when I had to have a CS, they read it and followed it to the letter. It made me feel much more in control of something that I really didn't feel I had much power over. I am happy to email it to you if you CAT me

chrysanthamumm Sun 06-Sep-09 21:50:23

I had one for both births, midwives read each time and tried to incorporate where possible. Requested no routine cannula insertion 2nd time round (had agreed to CFM) but blood pressure already high on admission so mw asked if I'd mind having one as a precaution - I gave in and in the end needed to use it so all worked out - but think if I'd been adamant at the start, she would have agreed to leave for time being.

Most useful 2nd time was to state how important it was to me to retain some mobility (after long, induced 1st labour spent flat on back and eventual epidural). Had discussed this in context of CFM with consultant midwife prior to due date (and stated as such at top of plan) so knew what should be possible before I was admitted, which gave me more confidence from the start but luckily mw was fully supportive anyway.

PurpleCrazyHorse Mon 07-Sep-09 04:56:34

I did and it was followed by my fab midwife. I did ensure it was only one side of A4 and so kept it to the most important things and also meant it was easy for MW to remember.

The most useful thing was asking the midwife to do as many checks as poss in a position comfortable to me. All heartbeat checks were therefore done with me kneeling on the floor and I only needed to get on the bed for two internal exams.

N.B. Most useful item in my bag was the multipack of Mars bars! grin

SpawnChorus Mon 07-Sep-09 10:09:19

I had a loooong PFBish birthplan for DC1 which was casually tossed aside by the midwives grin No one seemed v interested in what I wanted, but DH was able to argue the more important points and the birth was ultimately OKish (there were slight complications, which made my "ideal" birth more difficult).

DC2 had a v short birth plan, which again the MWs ignored, but the labour was quick and easy so it didn't really matter.

Am 39 weeks pg and have made a sort of a birth plan, but TBH it's just reminders to DH on how to help me.

KittyTN Mon 07-Sep-09 15:01:18

I didn't have a written BP with ds. Most of the things that were less that ideal about ds's delivery I wouldn't have predicted anyway. I thought if I'm reasonable and talk to the MWs everything will be fine and appropriate. I did want an active 3rd stage (local MWs v keen on physiological 3rd stage) but I wanted to have the injection after ds was born and cord cut. Despite telling MWs this got lost somehow. I kept asking for the injection and they kept saying wait a bit more. Eventually after over an hour I got the injection, placenta out in 1-2 minutes, unfortunately with a largish retroplacental clot. I then needed sutures. I was really pissed off to have lost blood unneccessarily and to have had the whole process made even longer - I was shattered. Actually the most annoying thing was not being strong enough to shout 'No waiting, I want it now!' Unfortunately being in labour makes you very vulnerable. I'm thinking about home birth this time but will def write a short BP i.e., no aromatherapy oils, don't send me home in labour!, 3rd stage how I want it etc.

iwouldgoouttonight Mon 07-Sep-09 15:07:51

I wrote the same birth plan when pregnant with both DS and DD. With DS the midwife looked at it carefully and went through it with me. I especially remember her saying 'so you'd prefer not to have pain relief and just work with your breathing, that's fine'. And me thinking, what in god's name did I write that for! Although I did manage it in the end!

With DD I was virtually pushing her out as I walked into the hospital, she was born twenty mins after I arrived. I remember the midwife asking if I wanted an injection to speed up the delivery of the placenta and me saying 'its all written in my birth plan' and her laughing and saying 'there's no time for reading that'!

BornToFolk Mon 07-Sep-09 15:15:23

I realised the day after I'd given birth to DS that the birth plan had stayed in the car the whole time! grin
I was induced and we just forgot to bring the plan in with us.

But it was still a useful excercise to prepare it. It made me and DP talk about the birth and research some things, and decide what was important, and what wasn't and what might happen if things didn't go according to plan. Which was very useful as things really didn't go according to plan!

Just make sure that you write it with your birth partner so they know your wishes. They'll probably end up speaking on your behalf a lot.

Beveridge Tue 08-Sep-09 23:38:45

I had 2 columns in mine - I Would Prefer To Have/I Would Prefer Not To Have and probably it was most helpful in clarifying for myself what I wanted and for this reason alone I would recommend it. Some MWs didnt act on it (first one didnt realise I wanted the pool, even though it was written down and I'd told her this when I decided to stay put in hospital[I was a displaced homebirth])but others did (2nd MW mentioned she knew I didnt want to be in stirrups).

My plan of a home delivery in a pool with only gas and air did go out the window and I ended up flat on my back in a labour ward and then a forceps delivery with a spinal block but they did try and accommodate the bits they could (e.g nobody even suggested opiates when I was being a total wuss in the pool).

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