Here is what you need to know
A birth plan is ideal for completely outlining your labor and the birth of your little miracle so that everything goes smoothly, right? Not quite. Back to reality. Don't let the word "plan" fool you, because of course the birth of your little miracle can never be fully planned. However, it is important and perhaps reassuring for you as parents-to-be to discuss things with the midwife and then record them in a birth plan. In this way, you can answer in advance several questions that may suddenly become very important during the birth and which therefore need to be answered quickly. But what exactly is a birth plan and why is it important?
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a document in which you describe your wishes concerning the birth. These include the type of room you want to give birth in, who can be present at the birth, and whether you want pain relief. This document is very useful for the medical staff that will accompany you during the birth, but also for your partner so that you can get optimal support and assistance during the birth. And so that those scenarios of pacing partners with panicked facial expressions during labor can be avoided.
Why a birth plan?
Still not convinced why you should prepare a birth plan? After reading the reasons below, you probably will be!
- Consciously think about your birth. If there is anything that will stimulate you to think consciously about your birth, it is the birth plan. When you start to draw up this plan, you will probably find that there are many things that you have already mentally worked on, but that the opposite is also true for many choices. To create a good birth plan, you will probably read up on certain (new) topics and request a lot of additional information so that you are well informed. This plan will help you to consciously think about your wishes concerning the birth, giving you the feeling that you are in control. In addition, it is also useful to list your fears or concerns and then, no, not to Google them, but to discuss them with your midwife. She will be honest about the risks you are afraid of and together you can discuss possible solutions. This will undoubtedly make you feel prepared for the birth!
- Discuss the birth together with your partne You are the one who will do the hard work during the birth, but of course, it is nice if your partner offers unconditional support during the birth. What that support should look like differs for every pregnant woman. That is why it is a good idea to discuss with your partner what your expectations are and what you do and do not like during childbirth. In this way, you can prepare together for the birth and the most beautiful day of your life!
- Clarity for medical staff. By drawing up the birth plan you will know better than anyone else what your wishes are concerning the birth, and after going through the birth plan the medical staff will know this as well. Your regular health care provider will of course be aware of this, but if they cannot be present at the birth, the plan will provide clarity. In short, your birth plan helps the medical staff to take your wishes into account as much as possible.
- Plan for unexpected events. Of course, our fingers are crossed that this does not happen, but when unexpected events occur during labor, the birth plan will be the guide for the medical staff accompanying you during labor. This is especially important if at certain times during labor you are less able to express your wishes and what choices you would like to make (or would like the medical staff to make).
- Focus on your task: giving birth! Because you have already formulated your wishes in the birth plan, you do not need to be constantly bothered with questions about your wishes. You can then concentrate fully on the one task that you have to accomplish: bringing your mini-me into the world!
Birth plan content
Okay, we've convinced you why you should write a birth plan. Our work in this area does not stop halfway, and we will therefore give you a hand with the content of the birth plan. By answering the questions below, you will go a long way toward creating your birth plan!
- Where do you want to give birth?
- What requirements does the room in which you want to give birth have to meet?
- Who can be present during the birth?
- What are your fears about giving birth?
- Do you want pain relief during labor? If yes, which one?
- In which position do you want to give birth?
- In case of a C-section: with or without anesthesia?
- Do you want to handle the baby yourself?
- Can the umbilical cord be cut?
- Can footage be taken during or after the birth?
- Do you want to breastfeed?
- Do you want to see the placenta?
- In the case of hospitalization of the baby, what are your wishes?
Tip: Keep the birth plan short and to the point! This will only make it easier for the medical staff, and ultimately for yourself so that they can act quickly. After all, it is not very helpful during the birth when that (poor) midwife has to go through your endless list in a minute.
Deviating from the birth plan
As mentioned, a birth can never be fully planned. Preparing a birth plan is still recommended, but keep in mind that at times it may be necessary to deviate from the birth plan. In the event of unforeseen circumstances, the medical staff will certainly look at your birth plan, but there is a possibility that they may not be able to take your wishes into account for medical reasons. Remember, they are medical experts, and will always do what is best for you and the baby. You may change your mind yourself during the delivery, which of course is not a problem either. After all, there is nothing like being 'legally tied to a birth plan' ;)