Birth Plans

Flexibility is key!

You may have lots of ideas and preferences but they need to be just that – preferences.

“…have a plan A, have a plan B, go down to a plan G or K if you need to.” Elizabeth Duff (Senior Policy Advisor for the NCT)

In reality  no-one knows how things are really going to pan out on the day. Keeping preferences flexible ensures that the team looking after you have a good idea of the direction you hope your birth will go, but have the space to be able to suggest other things if it seems like the plan needs to change.

However, this is where your knowledge becomes most important.

For example: If you are hoping to avoid a caesarean, then it is useful to know that some hospitals place what can seem to be quite arbitrary timescales on 2nd stage labour. Knowing this you can ask very specific questions about your status before making a decision regarding drugs to speed up your labour.

Another example: If you know you want to hold your baby skin-to-skin while still in theatre, then it is important to specify this in your birth guide so your gown can be put on backwards and the screen positioned appropriately to make this possible. Both these things need to be agreed in advance. If it is your birth guide, the discussion cannot be forgotten.

Know your facts and if in doubt always ask more questions.

A google search will generate a list of lots websites discussing vaginal birth plans. Caesarean plans are a little more tricky to find, but not impossible and in ‘Caesarean Birth: A positive Approach to Preparation and Recovery’ there is a whole section dedicated to the issue of ‘Birth Guides’, including: possible content, structure and key things to think about.

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