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For the planners among us, it sounds nice to be able to plan the birth of your baby. Others will say that this is completely useless because there is nothing more unpredictable than childbirth.

So why would you spend time writing a birth plan when it won’t go according to plan anyways?

  • You become aware of your greatest wish, fear and support needs.
  • It serves as mental preparation.
  • Your birth team will know how to support you.
  • More likely to stay in your bubble without being interrupted.
  • Make informed decisions when birth doesn’t go according to plan.
  • Prevent making impulsive decisions that you might regret later.

The birth of your baby can’t be planned in an exact timeline. My advice would be to let go of wanting to control the labour process once it starts. Trust your preparation, your body, your mind, nature and the knowledge of your birth team. Be in your bubble and go with the flow! Perhaps a better name for a Birth Plan would be`The Birth Wish’ That way you make it clear to yourself what is important to you and how you can make that happen in different birth scenarios. Feel free to change your mind about your plan during the labour process. It’s your birth experience! Listen to what your body is telling you at that moment.

How to write a birth plan?

What do you need to think about? What should be in the plan? My advice would be to start writing everything down that comes to mind. Write down your biggest wish, your thoughts and questions.

∙ Where do you want to give birth and why?

o Home o Birth center

o Hospital, which one?

o In bed/ bath/ shower

∙ Who do you want in your birth team?

o Partner, midwife, OB-GYN, doula, family, friends

o Are you ok with an intern being present in the delivery room?

o What is the current Covid-19 policy? Are they any exceptions?

o Do you want pictures taken? Videos? If yes, who is going to take them?

∙ When do you want to give birth?

o If there is a need or wish for induction, which methods do you prefer?

♣ How do you feel about sweeping the membranes, AROM, synthetic oxytocin

∙ How do you want to give birth?

o Which positions do you want to try during labour?

o In which position do you want to push your baby out?

o How do you feel about medical procedures? Internal examinations? IV? Episiotomy? Vacuum or forceps extraction?

o Cardiac monitoring:

♣ External CTG (there will be bands over your belly)

♣ Internal CTG (electrode attached to baby’s skull)

♣ Wireless available? This way you can move around freely and even use hydrotherapy (bath/ shower).

o Communication: what are your preferences? Do you want to know everything that is happening? Which tone of voice works best for you? Should certain words be avoided?

o What kind of birth setting do you prefer? Think about light, temperature, scent, music, volume of medical equipment (beeping noise), medical staff walking in and out the room, volume of (phone) conversations in the room, etc. o What if baby is in breech position? Do you want to try a breech birth or try to turn your baby? Think about different ways to turn your baby (in the hospital, moxa, spinning babies techniques).

o Do you want to see the birth of your baby? For example with a mirror.

o What would you want in case of a C-section scenario?

♣ Partner in the surgery room?

♣ Direct skin to skin contact with your baby on your chest?

o What’s important to you if you need to stay longer in the hospital?

o What are your wishes in case your baby can’t stay in the same room as you?

o Are there certain cultural traditions that your birth team needs to be aware of?

o Are there certain fears that your birth team needs to be aware of?

o Is there a specific (traumatic) event that your birth team needs to be aware of?

∙ Pain relief methods

o Natural: massage, acupressure, breathing techniques, hypnobirthing techniques, TENS, switching positions, warmth/cold, counterpressure etc.

o Medical: nitrous oxice, pethidin, remifentanil (morphine pump), epidural

∙ The birth

o Who is catching your baby?

o Do you already know the gender? If not, how do you want to find out?

o When, who and how will the umbilical cord be cut?

♣ Wait for pulsation to stop

♣ Lotus birth

♣ Plastic clamp, cordring

♣ Donate blood left in the umbilical cord?

o What about the placenta?

♣ Do you want to see the placenta?

♣ Take pictures of it?

♣ Alternative ways such as turning the placenta into art or consume it (pills or smoothie for example).

∙ After giving birth

o The first hour after birth ‘The Golden hour’

♣ What kind of feeding do you want to start? Are you going to start breastfeeding?

♣ Skin to skin contact?

♣ When do you prefer the medical checks to be done?

♣ Vitamin K?

o Who and when will visit you in the first weeks?

o Baby’s first bath

Format birth plan

∙ Start with a introduction of yourself. “We are such and so and feel this way about giving birth. We trust your caring support and expertise.”

∙ Keep it short and to the point. Write down about 5 or 6 pointers that are really important to you.

∙ Easy to read

I hope you have fun together to prepare for the birth of your baby!