A birth plan is a simple method for planning the birth and delivery of your baby. It is used to record decisions you have made regarding this process. Rather than making difficult choices during delivery, it is good to take time to think about your options before you start. These can then be recorded as a Birth Plan. The Birth Plan is not a document that is a final contract. It can be changed by agreement as the birth proceeds, but it represents a starting point for noting your birth preferences. For taking easy notes use our printable Birth Plan Worksheet
Birth Plans differ in layout and content depending on the local health authority or even the country in which the birth is taking place. There are a number of common features for most birth plans however, and these are explained below:
You need to decide who you would like to be with you for support during labour. It is advisableto choose one person who can give you good support throughout the birth, or two people who can take turns to be with you.
It is usually necessary to monitor the baby's heart beat during labour. On some occasions it may be necessary to monitor it continuously, however the medical staff will advise you whether this is a requirement.
Do you have a particular preference for the method of pain management used during labour?
Do you have a preference for giving birth in a particular position, for example on all fours or squatting?
It may sometimes be necessary for medical staff to intervene if labour is not progressing, or if your health or your baby's health is at risk.
It may be neccessary to carry out an episiotomy if necessary, and to administer drugs after the birth to help womb contraction and minimise blood loss. You should talk about this with medical staff and note any preferences or decisions.
It may be beneficial for your baby to be given vitamin K after birth. This should be discussed with medical staff.
If you go past your due date or have complications, it may be necessary to induce labour. You should discuss any conerns about this with medical staff.
Should a Caesarean section be necessary during the birth it will be helpful if you have made some key decisions before hand. For example
Are there any particular religious customs you wish to have observed during the birth?
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