With each passing week of your pregnancy it can seem like there is another appointment or job that needs your attention and in the latter weeks you may be starting to think about your birth plan. It may seem like everyone automatically assumes that you know what a birth plan is and also, that you actually want to write one!
Do you have to write a birth plan?
you DO NOT have to write a birth plan. If you and your partner prefer the “go with the flow” approach, that is absolute fine. Alternatively, you may want to have considered every single scenario and have your thoughts written down in detail. There is no right or wrong.
The benefits of spending some time writing a birth plan is that this can give you and your partner the opportunity to consider some of the choices that you may need to make throughout labour and birth. However, as a midwife, I believe that a good birth plan will help you to consider how you will both navigate the early hours of your labour when you may well be at home without midwives or doctors.
Hand-expressing will also help you to understand your breast anatomy and, in turn, aid you in guiding your baby onto the breast. Being able to express a little milk onto the breast can encourage your baby to feed.
Should I attend antenatal classes?
Part of your birth plan may be looking into and signing up to some antenatal classes so that you can be given all the information you need to support you in having a positive experience. If you are looking for a “no-nonsense & midwife led” provision, look no further than our very own Honest Midwife and take a look at all the amazing classes that are offered by her at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby.
Where should I have my baby?
There are usually three options: The first is a midwife led unit. These units are often separate to the main hospital and are staffed by midwives and support workers. A home from home, midwife led units are great if you would like a home birth but feel a little unsure. Keep in mind though, that should you need a doctor for any reason you would need to be transferred to your nearest hospital by ambulance. Many hospitals to have midwife led units on-site though, so ask your midwife what is available.
Next up is the Consultant Unit or Labour Ward. These units have the full compliment of staff from midwives and support workers to anaesthetists and obstetricians. This will be the recommended place for you to have your baby if your pregnancy has any complications that could potentially call for a doctor to be nearby.
Lastly is a home birth. A lovely place to have your baby but does need careful consideration. Think about the space you have available, your pets, any other children you may have and also, have a conversation with your midwife about any concerns that they may have pertinent to your personal circumstances. Once you have considered and gathered all this information you will then be able to decide if home-birth is right for you.
How should I feed my baby?
Finally, you should consider how you wish to feed your baby. To fully understand both formula and breastfeeding have a look our recommended feeding class.
Whatever your thoughts on these points to consider, remember, your birth plan should have the ultimate goal of a health, happy Mum, baby and partner – how that all comes about doesn’t really matter, as long as you look back and feel it was a positive experience.