A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You don’t have to create a birth plan, but if you would like one your midwife will be able to help. Discussing a birth plan with your midwife will give you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happens in labour. It also gives your midwife the chance to get to know you better and understand your feelings and priorities. You can fill in or print out a birth plan at www.nhs/birthplan
. If you do not have a computer your midwife can print you a copy.
You’ll probably want to think about or discuss some things more fully with the baby’s father, and your friends and relatives. Remember that you can change your mind about your wishes for labour and birth at any time.
Your birth plan is personal to you. It will depend not only on what you want, but also on your medical history, your circumstances, and what is available at your maternity service. What may be safe and practical for one pregnant woman may not be a good idea for another.
It’s a good idea to keep a copy of your birth plan with you. The maternity team who care for you during labour will discuss it with you so they know what you want. But it is important to remember that you need to be flexible and prepared to do things differently from your birth plan if complications arise with you or your baby, or if facilities such as a birth pool are not available. The maternity team will tell you what they advise in your particular circumstances.
Things to consider
- pain relief options
- where and how you can give birth
- forceps or ventouse (intervention or instrumental delivery)
- your baby after the birth
You can also work out whether there is anything you feel strongly about and might wish to include.