I'm coming at this from a slightly different perspective from most people here as my perspective is generally based on my professional experience rather than personal experience. As anyone who has had a baby will know, your midwife will talk to you fairly early on about your birthing plan - how you want to have your baby delivered into this world. And fortunately, for most mothers, the birth of their baby goes according to plan and everyone's happy.
However, my concern is that sometimes parents are so set on keeping to their birth plan that they don't take into consideration the fact that things don't always go according to plan - and therefore things need to be changed when that happens. Ultimately the safety of you and your baby HAS to come above your ideals about how the delivery should actually take place, and in my experience parents sometimes get carried away with wanting the candles and the soft playing music and don't take into account that, in some situations, not being willing to change your plan can and will result in the life of yourself and / or your baby being put in jepordy.
I've had parents say to me that midwives sometimes over clinicalize situations and therefore intervene when there is no need to. Of course I can't say that this never happens, but generally midwives are committed to helping mothers to have their baby in the way that they wish. However, they not only have to look after the wishes of mothers, but they also have at least two lives to look out for also. They do not change your birthing plan without good reason and so I highly recommend that you listen to them and be willing to change accordingly.
I've been aware of mothers who have refused to allow a caesarian section when there has been severe foetal distress; or mothers who have insisted on having no monitoring despite signs that there is a serious issue; and the consequences of this has been tragic in some circumstances.
I'm not wanting to play the scaremongerer here - because of course most births are uneventful in terms of complications and everything is wonderful. But when complications happen, then flexibility is necessary and your wishes have to be put on the back burner because I'm sure ultimately what you want more than anything is a healthy baby at the end of it.
When I was a few months pregnant and started reading books on labour and attending some birthing classes I heard a lot about Birth Plans. According to babycentre.co.uk, a popular baby website, "a birth plan is a way of communicating with the midwives and doctors who care for you in labour. It tells them about the kind of labour you would like to have, what you want to happen and what you definitely want to avoid."
I have to say that even though this is a good idea for some people I really didn't think it was that worth worrying about and stressing over. I was very happy to just go with the flow and let things take their course naturally and mostly leave it to the midwives. Afterall, they have seen hundreds of births and this was my first so I was quite confident that they would know way more than me. Also, I did not want to go into labour with a plan set in stone because this only leads to disappointment if things don't happen the way you want them to. I have heard of women who went into labour with very definite ideas such as not wanting a C-section and the feeling like a failure when it did have to happen and also finding it hard to bond with their baby afterwards as the birth did not go the way they wanted it. I did not want to put myself through this pressure and was just of the mindset that, " well, it's got to come out and there's nothing I can do about it now so I'm just going to go with the flow!"
Having said that I do think it's a good idea to have some thoughts on what you would like. For example I didn't really want an epidural but was willing to change my mind if it really hurt (I did sort of change my mind in the throes of excrutiating pain but by that point it was too late so couldn't have one and was glad in the end that I didn't) and knew that straight after he/she was born I wanted to try and breastfeed as I had heard this was a really crucial time for it to happen.
Babycentre.co.uk advise you to think about the following when writing a birth plan:
Positions for labour and birth
Monitoring your baby's heart rate
Third stage (delivery of the placenta)
Feeding the baby
I feel this are good points and I recommend talking them over with your birthing partner because at the time you are not in the best state of mind to be making important decisions like these. I have to say though that most of the above points during my labour just happened with the midwives making the decisions as the labour progressed to make sure my baby are I were kept as safe as possible.
In conclusion birth plans are good but mostly I would just say "go with the flow!"
A birth plan is something your midwife starts to speak about very early into your pregnancy.
A birth plan is meant to ensure than everything goes smoothly during your labour.
As it was my first child I made my plan with my midwife, set it aside for the big day and didn't think much more of it!
As far as I was concerned everything was planned and would be fine if I just stuck to what we had organised.
How wrong could I have been!?
I think it is really important for first time mums to realise that when you make a birth plan you must plan for every eventuality.
Ok, most things won't go wrong but if they do, at least you will be prepared. I am not saying to be pesimistic but like most first time mums I planned everything and just wanted to enjoy the birth and cherish the moment.
As it turned out I remember very little about giving birth to my daughter as even though I made a plan as the midwife told me to I was not prepared for anything that occured that day.
My plan was fairly simple. I had requested to use the birthing pool as I had been told water is very comforting during labour.
Now I did realise that Aberdeen Maternity Hospital could not guarantee I would get one of the two available pools, as they were used on a first come first served basis and it all depended on how busy they were at the time of your admission and if anyone else was already using them.
I fully understood this and had braced myself not to be too disappointed if there were no available birthing pools.
The next part of my plan was to enjoy my birth and in order to do that I decided I would get a Spinal or an Epidural to help with the pain if I needed it. (My hope was the birthing pool would be relaxing enough, but planned this just in case one was not available.)
An epidural is a local anaesthetic that provides pain relief from contractions, and during the last stages of delivery. A spinal is very similar but can be used earlier in the labour or for caesarean sections.
I understood that this could numb my contractions and make it harder to time the pushes correctly but as I suffer from anxiety and depression I felt the most important thing was for me to be calm and happy.
I had also made the decision that I did not want to use morphine as it can make the baby sleepy and I did not want any extra risks to my unborn child.
I also made the decision to be hooked up to a monitor at all times so I could hear babies heartbeat.
This decision was made more for my comfort than for any specific medical reason, as I tend to panic and get over anxious. The midwife felt this would help me and of course baby to remain calm and relaxed.
My partner was to be at the birth with me and be present throughout.
At the time I led a very unstable lifestyle which was really not ideal to bring a baby into, none-the-less it was happening and I had to deal with it the best I could.
As a first time mum I did not know what to expect or what a contraction would feel like.
It didn't look like it was going to happen voluntarily as I was already two weeks past my due date and was booked in for an inducemnet in a few days time.
Baby had other plans however but I didn't know that yet!
Leading the hectic lifestyle I did, at two in the morning I ran out of cigarettes and being only seventeen and still rebelious I decided in my heavily pregnant state to walk a mile to the twenty four hour garage.
My contractions started just after arriving at the garage but rather than call my partner or mum I decided to walk the mile home.
By the time I got through the front door my contractions were in full swing so I called my mum to come take my to the maternity ward, then notified the hospital that I would be arriving.
I jumped in the bath till my mum arrived and the water really relaxed me and eased the contractions so I was really hoping for a birthing pool when I arrived at the hospital.
The birthing pool was the first item on my plan not to work out. I wasn't too disappointed as I was well aware that this could be the case.
I was told if one became available I was next on the list. They reminded me that I may still have around twelve to eighteen hours to go and the pool may well be free before then.
I was escorted to my birthing room and my waters broke as soon as I walked through the door.
The heart monitor was connected up and I could hear my little girls strong and regular heart beat.
I was already in a lot of pain as it was now six in the morning and had been in labour for around three hours.
I was using the gas and air but the pain was increasingly getting worse and I kept feeling like pushing when I was less than a cm dialated, basically no where near ready to push!
I was getting very stressed and becoming highly strung and babies heartbeat was beginning to get eratic as well.
My partner was meant to be there to comfort me but he spent more time outside smoking than he did in the birthing room.
The midwife brought the doctor to see me and after a quick collaberation they decided now was the right time to give me an Epidural anaesthesia.
I was relieved and sat on the edge of the bed as instructed and rolled onto my side with my knees up. I could not feel the needle being inserted as I was in so much pain by this time that that was the least of my worries.
Usually an epidural is performed reasonably quickly and will start to work as soon as five minutes after being administered.
After ten minutes the epidural still hadn't been administered and by this time there were three doctors in the room all jabbing me and deep in discussion with each other.
Eventually it was announced to me that 1:1000 cannot have an epidural as they have tiny veins all over there back.
Each time the doctor inserted the needle they were hitting a vein and drawing blood. An epidural must not be put into a vein as this can be highly dangerous for both the patient and the baby.
At no time during my pregnancy had either the doctor or the midwife said to me, whilst discussing my birth plan that this was a posibility. No matter how remote I should have been told.
Being unprepared for this I had no other plans for pain relief. This is where things went from bad to worse.
By this time babies heart beat was extremely eratic and kept dropping to dangerously low levels then rising again.
I was becomming more and more agitated and the doctors decided I needed morphine.
The choice was made for me, with permission from my mum, as with my history of mental illness, at this stage in my labour they deemed me not in a fit state to decide what was right for my baby.
They hoped that the morphine would calm both me and the baby down. The dreaded morphine was administered and both baby and I relaxed.
An hour later I was through the roof again and now in a drugged up state was screaming for more morphine.
I was told I could not have anymore (thank goodness!) and told to persist with the gas and air.
I continued to get more and more irate and stressed. The most vivid memory I have of my labour is of this point when the babies heart started decreasing rapidly.
All I remember them saying is "We're loosing her, We're loosing her." A doctor then came charging into the room and told me I was being preped for surgery.
They tried to give me a spinal this time so my partner could be present for the C-section but again it was not to be.
At 6.29am I was given an emergency c-section and Baby Ritchie was born at 6.33am.
When I awoke baby had been born five hours earlier and my partner was the first to feed her, much to my disgust.
I was then told that baby was fine and the birth had gone well but I had hemoraged and had needed a blood transfusion.
By this time I had been put on a morphine drip, again not what I really wanted but this time I certainly had no choice in the matter.
Slowly I got stronger and baby Cherith and I were allowed home but the birth became a trauma which I would rather forget, than a moment to cherish forever.
I like to think if I had been more prepared and had been given all the information things would have happened differently so I strongly recommend you research everything you can and plan for every possible eventuality.
However in the end the only thing that really matters is that I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl weighing 6 pounds and 8 ounces.
While I was pregnant I kept reading lots of things about birth plans in magazines and online but my midwife didn't mention anything about it until right near the end. It was as if was an after thought and basically she said they always write one but they rarely go according to plan especially with your first baby.
The birth plan generally includes the following:
Your birth partner:
Who do you want to be with you while you are in labour? Most people choose their husband/partner or Mum or Sister if they don't have a partner. Basically you can have anyone you want. You need it to be someone you feel comfortable baring all in front of. They will see you at your worst although if you're anything like me you really won't care what is happening.
What type of pain relief would you like? Generally you will have a choice of gas and air (entenox), pethidine, then an epidural. The midwife will go through with you the risks and benefits of all the methods and help you make an informed decision. I was adamant I didn't want anything apart from gas and air. Most people thought I was crazy but they were people who went straight for an epidural as soon as possible. The midwife kept saying to me it may all change when you are actually there but I stuck to my guns. With lots of help from my husband and the midwives at the labour ward I managed to give birth just using breathing techniques and gas and air. If you can manage to use it properly it really does help. It takes the edge off the pain. You can still feel it but it's as if it doesn't matter. I can't comment on the other methods as I didn't use them.
Do you want constant monitoring or intermittent? I would highly recommend that you do not have constant monitoring unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are hooked up to a monitor all the time you will not be able to move around and will get very uncomfortable. I had to get in so many different positions to try and ease the pain and if I had been attached to a monitor this would not have been possible.
Do you agree that if necessary they can perform an assisted delivery using either forceps or ventouse or perform an episiotomy. I agreed to all these but only as a last resort. A forceps delivery is where they use what looks like large salad tongs to help pull the baby out. A ventouse is like a suction cup which goes over the top of the baby's head to again help pull them out. An episiotomy is where they make a small cut down below to make the opening bigger so the baby has more room to come out. I didn't need any of these so can't comment on how they feel but if it helped my baby I would have been all for it.
Is there any position you do not want to be in or any position you would prefer? Sometimes when you are in labour the midwives will try and tell you that a certain position is best but if it makes you uncomfortable or is painful for you then do not agree to it. My suggestion is you remain upright and mobile for as long as possible and let gravity help. I thought this sounded silly before hand but I think it really does work. I had been laid down for a while breathing on my gas and air and decided to get up. At which point the contractions intensified and my daughter arrived 6 minutes later.
Do you want to breast feed or bottle feed? If you want to breast feed then the midwives should help you to get the baby to latch on as soon as possible after the birth. You must let the know that you want to do this as the earlier they start the easier it is for them and you to pick it up. If you want to bottle feed also make sure they know as they will probably try and encourage you to breast feed as this is the government recommendation.
There is also space at the bottom of your plan to include anything else you might want the midwives to know. If there is anything at all you can think of then put it in this space as once your contractions start you may completely forget everything.
I can highly recommend writing a birth plan as long as you don't get too obsessed with sticking to it. Things don't always go according to plan and it is always best to do whatever is right for you and your baby at the time.
A Birth Plan is part of the Maternity notes that a pregnant lady recieves, where the pregnant women is supposed to plan the birth that she wants to have. This will include details such as: drugs wanted, natural birth, bottle or breast feeding, who will cut cord and where you want baby to be placed straight after the birth.
I filled in a birth plan with the help of my midwife when I was pregnant with my son - it included the fact that I wanted a water birth,no drugs, my partner was going to cut the cord and I was going to breastfeed straight away. As it turned out the plan was not refered to by either myself or the midwives.
As it was my first baby, I really didn't know what to expect so filling out the birth plan in the first place was extremley difficult. Because I didn't even know how much it hurt (loads btw), I found it hard to say whether or not I wanted drugs or to do it naturally.
When the big day came, I got to the hospital and was in too much pain to ask to be put in the room with the birthing pool so I ended up on a normal bed. As much as I asked for an epidural to help with the pain, it never happened - as by the time the anesthetist arrived it was nearly all over.
My partner didn't cut the cord as he thought it was too thick, and I didn't breastfeed as it didn't feel right at the time.
All in all, nothing that I wrote in the plan actually happened when it came to the big day.
In my opinion, a birth plan would be a great idea for your second or third baby, but for the first you really have no idea what to expect so it is nearly impossible to plan for. Also, you may not be able to stick to the plan so it seems pointless taking the time to consider.
If I were to have another child, I would definatley write a birth plan - but I needn't have bothered with my first.
A birth plan is basically a guide you write before you go into labour, this advises the medical staff of how you would like your labour to go, ie what pain relief you would like, what position you want to give birth in etc. Therefore when you are in labour and in a lot of pain, you have all your wishes written down on paper, rather than having to remember them.
I would highly recommend writing a birth plan as mine was invaluable and my midwifes followed it to the letter. I have the benefit of having a straight forward, easy, quick labour so it was very easy to follow my birth plan. I will definitely be doing another one when I have another baby; in fact I will probably just update the one that I already have!
Here is my birth plan:
BIRTH PLAN FOR SAMANTHA PERRY
* BIRTH PARTNERS - My husband and my mother are to be my birth partners. My husband will be present at all times and the one to make the decisions if I am not capable. My mother may not be there all the time but would like her to be able to have access to the delivery suite.
* PAIN RELIEF - Would like to use TENS (I have my own TENS machine) and gas & air, would prefer not to have any further pain relief if possible, but as this is my first birth I know this is probably wishful thinking on my part!!! If anything further required would next like to try morphine/pethidine. Would really prefer not to have an epidural if at all possible, I have a needle phobia and the epidural scares me more than the child birth! Again, as I have no idea what to expect I am open minded about this.
* MONITORING - Would prefer not to have continuous monitoring if possible, as would like to be able to be active, however, will allow any medical intervention if it is deemed necessary for the safe delivery of our baby.
* DELIVERY POSITIONS - Not really sure as is my first baby, think would like to be on my back but will just go with whatever I feel comfortable with on the day, would like to remain as mobile as possible so I have the option to move around if required.
* I would like the baby passed to me asap after the birth and we would like to discover the sex of our baby ourselves please. I would like to attempt breast feeding straight away.
* Would like to pay for a private room if there is one available, rather than being placed on a ward.
*THIRD STAGE - I would like the injection to speed up the delivery of the placenta.
* VITAMIN K - I would like the vitamin K injection given to my baby.
* FEEDING - I will be breastfeeding my baby and would like to attempt this as soon as possible after the birth.
Writing a birth plan is one of those great ideas that focus on how you would like your birth to proceed and a chance to discuss with your birth partner what you do and don't want so that they can advocate for you.
I got my midwife to read through my birth plan and she explained some of the points like I would of preferred a mobile epidural if available but these were not available in the hospital I gave birth at so knew that this would not be available.
I would have liked to be able to use a birthing pool but this was never going to be an option as I was going into the consultant led room but if it was an option I would have put this in my birth plan.
When I was pregnant I spent a time researching the different methods of pain relief. I considered natural child birth to be something invented by men and I had no intentions of been a martyr, I would be having drugs. However after reading the effects I did not want pethadine as I read it could affect the baby's ability to breastfeed.
In my birth plan I stated that I would like to get through labour with Gas and Air but if I couldn't manage I wanted an epidural. This way what I would have wanted ideally covered but never having been through labour before I didn't know if I could cope with the pain. But my second choice was also written down.
I wrote in my birth plan that I would welcome Student midwives. I trained as a nurse so knew the importance of experience but it also meant I was likely to have someone with me all the time and knew they would be supervised. They commented on the ward how unusual it was to see that on a birth plan it was usually people stating no students.
I had heard a few people saying how they had done a birth plan but as emergency treatment had been needed the birth plan had gone out of the window. So I tried to consider what I would want to happen in the case of an emergency. This included me been infirmed of what was happening at every stage. I cope better when I know exactly what is going on rather than guessing.
I put in my birth plan that I wanted to be given the injection to deliver the placenta. I had watched a birthing program and saw a woman spending 45 minutes rolling around in pain as she delivered the placenta naturally. I thought this is time I would want to spend with my son.
I also stated that I wanted my son to have the vitamin K injection so that should I be unable to state it at the time of birth they already had my permission.
My husband was adamant he didn't want to cut the cord which was fine with me. I wasn't particularly that keen with the idea of him doing a hospital procedure anyway.
I wanted my son delivered onto my chest and wanted him to be breastfeed as soon as I had given birth as I had read this is useful in trying to establish breastfeeding.
I found that having a birth plan was very useful. Throughout the labour the midwife referred to my birth plan but also checked that I hadn't changed my mind during the course of the labour.
The only part of the plan that had to change was that I wanted to be as active as possible during the labour but as I was induced I had to be monitored throughout.
I would recommend to any pregnant women to consider what they want in an ideal birth and what they want if things don't go as planned. It is important to be flexible. There may be ideas you have in your head but when you get to labour change your mind. I personally though I would love music as a distraction and took a selection of CD's in but during labour I was so focussed on dealing with the contractions I wasn't the slightest bit interested in music. Make sure your birth partner understands what you do and don't want during labour. They can be your voice when you need them to be.
Labour is a painful magical experience and a birth plan can help you get the birth you want.
I think when you write a birth plan you need to be realistic. The reality is it very seldom goes to plan. Don't be disappointed if you don't achieve all you have written down. I went into my first pregnancy accepting whatever happens , happens but all I want is to come home with a healthy child. I had planned for my mum and husband to be in the room with me and fortunately that went to plan. I never expected to be in labour 3 weeks early and I just went with the flow - the adreniline rush was just unbelieveable. Yes, i was absolutely exhausted especially as I hadn't slept the 3 nights prior to my waters breaking. My contractions weren't coming close enough and with my waters broken over 24 hrs earlier I had to have a drip to bring on the contractions ( I wasn't planning on that!). I was determined to have an epidural and the midwife told me to wait a bit longer but I was insistant on it asap and as such I was given it then (thankfully as any later would have meant I wouldn't have been able to have it). Thankfully I went on to have a fairly straight-forward delivery but it was rather quick. I had the injection to remove the placenta (this was in my birth plan).I thought "That wasn't too bad!" until I was advised that I had a 3rd degree tear and lost 1.5 litres of blood ( I wasn't expecting that!). Suddenly I was rushed into theatre to be stitched up ( I wasn't expecting that - it wasn't in my birth plan!). I was then taken back to the delivery room to be given 3 blood transfusions ( I wasn't planning on that). When asked about feeding I was planning on breast feeding (in my birth plaN) but quite honestly after the trauma I had just been through I had no energy and was exhausted and as such opted to bottle feed so my husband could do the first feed. Basically what I am trying to say is that yes, write a plan but really it would be most unusual for it all to go to plan. Also, you may want an epidural but in labour you realise you have a high pain threshold and as such don't want any pain relief. It's hard to know what to expect or what you want until you are in labour / the situation. I think that as long as you have the person you want as your birth partner with you then you can get through it together. Try to accept that you have to expect the unexpected and the main thing is for you and the baby to be in the best possible care and if that means c-section or other unplanned methods then just accept it.
If you have never heard of a birth plan before , it is exactly as it sounds. It is a written plan of the way you would like the birth to be carried out. This was explained to me when I was expecting my first baby in 2007. I thought that it sounded great. Obviously if there are complications then your plans will have to be adaptable, but it is worth giving it some thought about how you would like to have your baby. Examples of this are having your baby at home , or a water birth , or whether or not you would like an epidural. There is alot to think about, so it is worth doing you research first. I would recommend speaking to your midwife, mine were very useful. I planned to have a water birth, but as it turned out I couldn't have one because of complications. So your birth plan is just a plan, doesn't mean you will get what you want.
A birth plan is something that many websites suggest you do prior to giving birth. You are meant to write down exactly what you want to happen to you during your birth and give it to your midwife.
I wrote out that I would like to use the water birth pool, what drugs I wanted, who I wanted to stay with me and what should happen in an emergency and how I wanted to feed my newborn. It wasn't very long, probably only about half a side of A4. Some ladies plans are very detailed outlining what they want to happen at every stage of labour, down to what they want to do with the placenta.
As a dutiful first time mum I typed out my birth plan and printed it out and put it in my hospital bag, shared it with my husband ... and there it stayed.
On arrival at hospital I started off according to my plan and asked for the birth pool but as anyone who has given birth knows it's best to go with the flow and listen to your body and the midwife rather than sticking to a rigid plan.
I ended up not doing what I thought I wanted and 'screamed' for an epidural very early which was the best decision I ever made.
I think it was a good exercise because it made me aware of what my birth options could be and not go into it without any knowledge or idea. A pushy midwife could badger you into something you didn't want if you hadn't thought about it. Because I was aware of the choices I could assert my choice for an epidural and not be swayed to another choice which is easier for the midwife. It's also good to share with your birth partner as they could help you and have an idea of what you want.
If I have another child would I make a birth plan... yes and it would say
'GIVE ME AN EPIDURAL ASAP'
What is a birth plan?
Birth plans are plans written prior to the birth indicating how you would like the labour to be, who you want to be there, medical intervention, pain relief etc. This is supposed to provide a solid foundation to how your labour progresses and the treatment you recieve from the midwifes ensuring your labour is as near to what you want it to be. However as everyone is aware there could be complications meaning further actions are needed which cannot be planned for.
My 1st child - birth plan
With my 1st i though about the labour a lot and wanted it to be how i wanted and not anybody else or just another number on the labour ward. however as i didnt know what to expect or how i would deal with it i found it difficult to right a detailed birth plan. i spoke briefly to my midwife about it who just said you will know what you want at the time and just relax and go with the flow as birth plans can often cause upset as you go in wanting one thing and it doesnt happen and you feel let down. i still wanted a plan and to be made my feelings noted so i wrote a brief birth plan in my pregnancy notes of the things which were most important to me.
1. my partner to be with me throughout
2. no students present - i know they all have to train, but i wanting it relaxing and not to be poked about with or unneeded stress caused.
3. no pain releif for as long as possible and only if needed gas and air - definetely no epidural or pethidine
4. to remain active throughout the labour, walk around or do what i felt comfatable with and not to be forced to be in bed
5. to take a position i was comfatbale for the labour
6. to have baby placed on my chest straight away and to be offered the breast
7. for my partner to cut the cord
8. my biggest point was for me to look and discover the baby's sex myself and not to be told.
All were just small points are what i wanted to happen. Needless to say i wish i had listened to my midwife and didnt bother as the midwives in the labour suite never even looked at it and at the end i felt let down. my main problem was that i went into labour at 36+0 and labour was progressing quickly, i went into hospital 3 hours after contractions started and were already close together. the first thing against my plan was that i was put in the care of a student, then she insisted i stopped in the bed and didnt move as was essential to moniter me with me being early and that it would be hours yet. 5 hours into the labour i said i needed to push, which she said was not possible as still to early, in agony i then resorted to gas and air but the pressure kept getting worse, finally another midwife came and examined me to find i was actually ready to push as fully dilated. i was then not given the choice to find a different position and was just told to push. the baby was placed on my chest and my partner did cut the cord, but that was only because they asked me there and then. my biggest thing that i wanted to look at the sex was ruined as the midwife shouted out you got a boy. although it was all very special i couldnt help feeling let down afterwards and wondered what the point of writing a birth plan was if it wasnt even read.
My 2nd child
This time knowing what to expect from a labour and how a birth plan just caused so much upset afterwards last time i never even bothered filling in the page this time. All i wanted was a homebirth and from there on in would go with the flow and enjoy it as much as possible, knowing what i said is what i would get. good job i didnt bother with a birthplan, as went into labour, called midwifes straight away, 50 minutes later i was fighting the urge to push, still wondering round the house freely, finally staggered onto the bed, on all 4s which was mouch easier to push just as the midwives arrived, i gave 2 pushes and she was born. so all the agony and time spent writing a birth plan would of been a waste anyway as no-one was there and there would not of been time to read.
This time i will do exactly the same again, i felt so in control last time, even though i was scared being alone, but i knew how long i could hold the urge and knew it was time to push without being poked. being a homebirth as well midwifes tend to be more tuned in with what a mother expects and my daughter (which we knew anyway this time) was immediately passed between my legs for me to hold and my partner was automatically passed the scissors to cut the cord.
In my opinion i would not bother with a birth plan unless there is something you really want to be made clear, in which case tell the midwifes as soon as you arrive so its not over looked. if it is your first child, it is impossible to know what to expect and how you will come and will probably feel let down or that you havent done what you want if things dont happen as planned. i would strongly just let nature takes its course, go with the flow and anything you want such as pain relief or positions etc ask there and then, you really cant know months in advance, you will just get a feeling during labour and go with it, by doing so you ill feel more in control and happier at the end as expectations are not as high.
Every woman furing pregnancy is encouraged to write a birth plan as a guide to how you would like your birth to be. In this you can describe your opinions of the type of birth you want, birthing positions, pain relief, who you want to be present at the birth, how you want your newborn to be handled etc etc.
I wrote a birth plan for both of my pregnancies but to be honest neither times was this followed. I think it has to be remembered that this should just be taken as a guide as to what you want but that the birth may not always turn out the way you want it to be.
I think its very easy to state what kind of pain relief you want (if any) when you have never gone through labour before but this can all go out of the window when you're going through it!
I think you just need to be flexible with these and use them only as a guide.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is something you write down prior to the birth, listing your preferences for the labour, pain relief, and straight after the birth. But that's all they are, preferences. No two labours and births are the same, even with the same woman. Certain things may happen during labour that necessitate stronger pain relief or medical intervention. Even if you state quite clearly in your birth plan that you don't want a c-section, events may lead to it being required to save the life of both you and your baby. So never think of a birth plan as being written in stone, merely an indication to your midwife and birthing partners of what you'd prefer to happen.
This was my birth plan, which I wrote a few weeks before my due date:
My husband, will be my birth partner, and I'd like him to be involved with any decisions that need to be made.
PAIN RELIEF & BIRTH POSITIONS
I would like a natural, active birth. Using TENS machine, massage, and then gas & air.
I'd like to have the option of using the birthing pool if it's available, but only for pain relief during labour, and not for giving birth in.
I want to keep active and moving around during labour. I do not want to be lied down on my back for labour or birth unless absolutely necessary.
I have my own birthing ball which I'd like to use.
I do not want to have pethidine or an epidural unless the pain gets unbearable.
MEDICAL INTERVENTION & MONITORING
I would prefer intermittent foetal monitoring rather than constant monitoring, unless it is deemed necessary for the safety of my baby.
As little intervention as possible - I really don't want to have an episiotomy, or assisted delivery (forceps, ventouse) unless it becomes necessary for the health and safety of the baby.
I'd like the baby delivered straight onto my stomach and have immediate skin to skin contact.
My husband would like to cut the umbilical cord.
I am happy to have a syntometrine injection to help deliver the placenta.
I would like my baby to have a vitamin K injection.
If possible, I would like someone to take a photograph of my husband, baby and I after the birth.
I would rather avoid a Caesarean unless it becomes vital for the health and safety of my baby and myself.
If it does become necessary, I would like my partner to be present at all times.
I would like an epidural or spinal block - really don't want a general anaesthetic.
I would like the baby to be given to me immediately after birth if possible, for skin to skin contact.
I would like to try and breastfeed as soon after the birth as possible.
What actually happened:
He kept fairly quiet through the whole thing and did as he was told, or rather shouted at, to do!
PAIN RELIEF & BIRTH POSITIONS
I put my TENS machine on as soon as I started getting contractions and kept it on the whole time. It helped in the early stages, but don't think it did much later on.
The pain was 100 times worse than I'd ever imagined and on the way to the hospital I swore I was going to have an epidural. Once we got there they offered me a shot of morphine which I gladly accepted, although I don't think it made an ounce of difference.
I grabbed the gas and air and wouldn't let go of it! Fine stuff that is, you must try it some time! Once I was on this I remembered to tell my husband to give the midwife a copy of my birth plan which she read straight away.
The birthing ball never got inflated. I had been determined to have an active birth and move around as much as possible, but as soon as I got on that bed I didn't get off it. It was probably for the best anyway as gas and air makes you feel like you're very drunk, so I'd have more than likely ended up flat on my back on the floor.
I did kneel for most of the time, holding onto the back of the bed. It was a comfortable position to be in and I'm sure gravity helped.
MEDICAL INTERVENTION & MONITORING
Due to having a pre-existing medical condition I had to be kept on the foetal monitor the whole time, but it didn't bother me at all and was reassuring to know the baby was ok.
After pushing for 40 minutes the baby's head just wouldn't come out and they said they'd have to do an episiotomy. Not what I'd wanted but probably better than tearing.
They delivered my daughter onto my chest, but I still had my hospital gown on so didn't get the immediate skin-to-skin contact I'd wanted.
My husband did get to cut the cord. We'd been warned to make this request clear to the midwife as they no longer ask if he wants to do it at our hospital.
It didn't happen straight away but the midwife did take our photo together.
Thankfully I didn't have to have one.
This is probably the thing I was most upset about not going to plan. Because I was laid down, and had my gown on I needed help to get into the right position to breastfeed, but the midwives disappeared and it was 45 minutes after the birth when they finally got around to helping me into position.
I was in active labour for around 8 hours and am glad I had written a birth plan. I'll definitely do one next time.
The key is to keep it as clear and concise as possible, the midwife won't have time to read through page upon page. Keep it to no longer than one page, listing what's most important to you. And above all else be flexible and prepared for things not to go exactly the way you want them to. So long as you and your baby are safe and healthy at the end of it all nothing else matters.
Birthing plans are a great way for you to let everone know exactly what you want and most of all what you dont want.
Your birthing plan needs to be as specific as possible.
My birth plan with my first daughter was that i wanted any pain relief going, im a whimp you see but i did not want any medical intervention, no c section unless our lives depended on it and i even sighned a disclamer stating that the hospital were not at fault if things went wrong because of my refusal.
I didnt want forceps used and i didnt want cutting, i did want the injection to deliver the placenter and i did want vitamin k given streight away.
My plan was useless it never even got read and not through anyones fault but my daughter didnt waite and arrived so quickly there wasnt time for things like birth plans.
My second pregnancy was a planed home birth but i still wrote a birthing plan.
I wanted gas and air bringing from the hospital, i was going to collect my own pethadine from the doctors but an epidural wasnt possible as there wasnt going to be an anesiatist present at the birth.
I wanted no medical intervention, no forceps or anything.
Once again my plans went belly up as my daughter arrived too quickly for any pain relief.
I believe writing a birthing plan is very necessary so everyone knows what you want but you realy do need to be flexible, the only one realy in controll of how your labour goes is the baby and unfortunatly some one forgot to tell mine what my plans were.
Firmly convinced that not just mums-to-be, but also fathers-to-be need to have a birth plan, I have opted to share a bit of my own experience which I hope will be helpful.
I believe the most obvious point to start would be a very brief health lesson for the uninitiated potential, would-be, or even soon-to-be fathers. For those who are not yet fathers but plan on it, read carefully.
1. Fathers are necessary in the process of making a baby, and there is actually very little contact with said baby until he or she makes their formal debut into a scary world when they are forced to take the trip down the dark tunnel into an all-absorbing cold, sterile light only to find themselves getting smacked on the bum by the first person they meet who is also wearing a mask! LOL I expect that is so the baby cannot identify the culprit later in a suit for compensation due to psychological damages! At any rate --
2. Fathers do NOT give birth! Sorry, if you watched Alien Nation or Schwarzenegger in his movie, that is ALL science fiction which of course is not really science and certainly not even plausible fiction!! On this point, I am actually glad this is the case. While I handle pain fairly well, what I saw on three different days made me glad that I am who I am!
3. Fathers do NOT handle pain like mothers can for some reason and pain is very real for the mother. However, this does not mean that the mother cannot try to share some of the experience in various ways and means during the birth process.
4. Fathers realize very quickly the psychology of ensuring mothers think they still look great, feel great, and that it will all be over soon. This is regardless of whether or not they themselves look great at 0'dark:30, feel great when the mother just about breaks the hand because the father was foolish enough to forget to take off his rings, and regardless of the fact that the father has absolutely NO IDEA about what is REALLY happening with the mother OR the baby and he is JUST GUESSING!
Ok, now to the next point - a little about our own experiences. I have gone through this as a spectator/helper/assistant/etc on three different occasions and it still is hard to believe that all three are now teenagers! The oldest will soon be off to university and I am not sure who will cry the most -- his mother or ummmm,errrrrr, oh yeah, his brothers. Yeah, that's it - probably the brothers (fathers don't cry unless they have nothing better to do and nobody is around to see them!! LOL) Father is going to throw a party at having a room free and less money to pay out on groceries until he receives the first tuition bill whereupon he will then cry with hopeless abandon no matter who is looking!! BUT I DIGRESS!! Back to the story ---
With our first, my wife was induced after being a couple of weeks late. Actually, I don't think she was late, the little fellow was just insistent that he was warm enough and happy right where he was, "thank you very much!" After all, it was almost dead of winter!
Two hours on the dot, her waters broke and things began to get very interesting. Being with the military at that point, we were in a military-run hospital overseas. For those who have been or are currently military, you will know that things tend to get run by the book. My wife is in a great deal of pain and the main event took just 2 hours and 47 minutes after her waters broke. The nurse tells me that I have to go and get into hospital scrubs that you put on over your clothes so that I can be in the room when the baby is born. I could not figure this one out because I was there the whole time and my wife had already proven she was NOT a good listener. She TOTALLY ignored the doctor, the nurses, the anaesthatist, but concentrated on her husband - ME.
The doctor gives her an order and I have to repeat it to her. Same with the nurses and same with the aneasthatist. So, while I am translating from English into well, English, the nurse tells me to go away and my wife goes ballistic! I am ONLY in the next room putting this green garment over my clothes and some practical joker has tied and buttoned it all up so I am taking more precious time. Finally, in some semblance of order, I emerge whereupon I FORGET TO TAKE OFF MY RING for the final push! Read my lips carefully fathers-to-be ---- HHH UUU GGG EEE mistake which I rapidly regret when she with the force of a Special Forces soldier proceeds to just about break the bones in my hand! Pardon the pun, but after all she is going through - I simply soldier on!! LOL
Finally, the first fellow emerges and the pain is all but forgotten for both my wife and I as we get to see this fellow who invaded our lives and our hearts and my wife's body for the past almost 10 months! Considering all my wife went through, I graciously allowed her to name the fellow after me -- Mark Anthony Jr (one of those things you pick up from living a long time in the USA).
As an aside, actually I am glad that I was living abroad and not here and that my name was not like Charles III or something as my son would have have been the next Charles IV!!! LOL The poor royal fellow who likes talking to bushes would have had to come up with a new name which could have caused even more diplomatic damage between the two countries so glad my name was Mark Anthony. By the way, the Romans haven't been around for 1 1/2 millennium so didn't worry about what they might have thought about the situation and Cleopatra is long past caring by now.
Yes, I wept when I got to hold him just as I did for the next two as well. My wife's first request at each birth was for me to count every finger and toe. All accounted for! I looked into their eyes to make sure they are fine, and they did seem a little insulted at the rude awakening but they all got over it pretty quickly! On a serious note, I do not think unless you are there that you could adequately prepare for what is probably one of the most important days of your life. To see the miracle of birth take place is so special. As the father, you do get to watch all that is taking place with awe and wonder. I am so thankful to the Lord Jesus for the birth of my boys and for safe deliveries.
Final notes that may help --
1. Do all you can to make the mom feel as comfortable as possible.
2. Run any little errands like for more water or juice or whatever she is needing.
3. Offer words of encouragement to her.
4. Pay attention to the smallest details, she may quiz you on them later!!!
5. If the doctor offers to let you help cut the cord or something, don't pass up the opportunity like I did as you will end up regretting it.
6. Be gracious when your fingers are just about broken AND thankful that it is not you laying on the bed!!!
7. Never forget the experience and remember that life with the child does NOT end at birth. Spend time with them, but that is for another review on another day.
Thanks for reading and I hope all of you have a great weekend!