Birth Plan, Preferences and Proposals
Call it what you like, just make one…
A birth plan is the first step to communicating your wishes and approach to birth to your midwife and care providers. It’s easy to go into birth thinking that woman ‘all want the same thing’. However this isn’t true! Some women want an epidural, others want a homebirth and some find themselves somewhere in between! Any approach is completely a woman’s prerogative, but getting your midwife on side is key.
Now the magic of a birth plan isn’t actually in what you do or don’t write down on a bit of paper, it’s all in the process! In order to put together a birth plan, you need to have researched your options, and if you’ve done your research, then you’re informed! (And if you’re informed, you’re likely to remain more involved and in control of any decisions around your birth, so even if you change your mind on absolutely everything you wrote down, it’s coming from a place of fact not fear.). In my opinion that’s the very first step to a positive birth experience!
So how do you go about putting one together? The good news is that there’s no ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ way to present it. Supporting women in labour I’ve seen them presented as lists, letters, bullet points or even as pictures. In order of importance, in chronological order, or anything in between. So make it as pretty as you like, but put it directly into the hands of the midwife looking after you!
If you’re after a template or two to get you started, these are my top 5 Birth Plan templates!
The Positively Birthing Plan
The Positively Birthing Plan is compatible with the Visual Birth Plan imagery, or simple enough to fill out as bullet points, this birth plan offers the perfect balance to keep your ideas concise, whilst making sure you cover all your bases and ‘what if’ scenarios!
The ‘Visual Birth Plan’ Icons
Available from Pinter and Martin, as a free download alongside The Positive Birth Book, the ‘visual icons’ keep birth planning simple and easy to communicate. Use as a standalone birth plan or in combo with your own words and thoughts!
The NCT Caesarean Birth Plan
The benefits of birth planning aren’t just for vaginal birth. If you’re preparing for a planned c-section understanding your choices and can be beneficial! The NCT have a helpful template to help you consider all your options.
Kicki Hansard’s Path to Birth
For the creative and visual ones amongst us. Kicki Hansard’s Path to Birth will really get you thinking about what you want your birth to ‘look’ and ‘feel’ like. Things just as worth considering as the more ‘practical’ or ‘medical’ choices you may face. Plus, handing this to your midwife would certainly be a conversation starter!
NHS Birth Plan
Possibly a little ‘lengthier’ than necessary the NHS Birth Plan is a good starting point to get you thinking about WHAT you might want to include, research or consider. There may be space in your maternity notes to fill out a birth plan. But to avoid the possibility that your midwife forgets to check, I’d always recommend taking a separate hard copy too.
AUTHOR : MEGAN ROSSITER
HYPNOBIRTHING TEACHER, SURREY
Megan Rossiter is a student midwife, mother and hypnobirthing practitioner. She is the founder of Positively Birthing and runs 1 to 1 and group hypnobirthing classes in Surrey, covering areas including Thames Ditton, Cobham, Esher, Surbiton, Molesey, Teddington, Kingston, Hampton and beyond.
Visit her directory page below to book a class.