Many of us, usually before our first baby (often well before!), have an idea of how we’d like our birth to go. We have this ideal in our minds – whether that’s a natural birth with minimal intervention, or a birth with the help of epidural, or elective c-section.
The reality of birth is that it truly can’t be planned down to the nitty-gritty details. This is why I call a birth plan, a birth ‘wishlist’. It is the idea that, “all going well, this is how I’d like this to happen”.
Wishlists give the impression of a more flexible mindset. A wishlist implies it can be changed easily, whereas ‘plans’ tend to require more thought and input.
Also, and most importantly, the idea of the wishlist is that you are educating yourself about your options. Whether or not things go to ‘plan’, you have a knowledge and understanding of birth, interventions, and options that you may not have had before.
I like to start a birth plan with wishes for labour. This might include:
- Am I giving birth vaginally or by c-section?
- Where to I want to have my baby (i.e. Home, hospital, birthing centre)?
- Who do I want present with me in the room (i.e. partner, parent, doula)?
- Do I want that person/those people present at all times, or do I want them to leave at times (i.e. during examinations)?
- Do I want internal examinations?
- Do I want music playing? Do I want low lighting? Do I want quiet?
- Do I want my partner/support person to take video/pictures?
- Do I want the option to be able to drink water and eat food during labour?
- Do I want to be able to move around freely in labour?
- Do I want to use labouring aids like a ball or a rebozo?
- Do I want pain management options available, and if so, which ones?
- Are there any pain management options I really don’t want?
- Do I want continuous or intermittent monitoring of baby? Do I want no or as little monitoring as possible?
- Do I want to labour and/or birth in the water?
- If I need to make a decision, would I prefer to be asked personally or would I prefer my partner/parent/doula/other support person to be asked?
This is only the beginning of the things you can include in your birth wishlist. Keep an eye out for my comprehensive Birth Wishlist Template (coming soon!). Sign up to my mailing list to be notified when it’s available!
I recommend that all members of your support team have a copy of your birth wishlist, as well as your doctor and midwife. If you are going through the public system, you may not know who your midwife will be; in this instance, keep a copy in your birthing bag to give to them when you arrive.