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Why should you bother with a birth plan?

Whatever you call it, a birth plan, birth preferences, birth journey it is an important thing to create.

But why?

When I began to speak about writing a birth plan when I was pregnant with our first baby I was met with so much negativity.

Woman writing her birth plan

"What you bothering with that for? It will go straight about of the window."

"They will just tell you what you will do, you can't decide."

Even though my dream of having a water birth was not possible it didn't stop me and my partner from putting the things in writing that we wanted including in our birth.

A birth plan is for ALL BIRTHS.

Hospital births, birth centre births, home births, cesarean births . . . it's a great tool for them all.

There are so many benefits of writing a birth plan but I am going to share my favourite 5 below.

It makes you and your birth partner talk about your birth

Talking to your birth partner about your hopes for birth is so important. It will mean you are on the same page when it comes to birth and they will be able to advocate for you with your care team when you are in your birthing zone. Ask them questions such as 'Do you want to cut the cord?' and if you don't know your baby's gender do you want them to reveal it to you?

It helps stop the 'birth fear' kicking in

Thinking about the process of birth and educating yourself on what to expect during each phase of labour can help to banish the fear of the unknown. Include things that you are hoping for to help those birthing hormones such as dimmed lighting and hushed voices so that your care team can facilitate this for you. Knowing you've communicated your wishes to your healthcare team can be a major stress-buster.

It is a clear communication with your health care team

Having all your wishes down on paper is a clear way of communicating your hopes and wishes for your birth with all the professionals around you. Think about things such as do you want vaginal examinations, continual foetal monitoring or to be offering pain relief. This will reduce the awkwardness whilst you are in your birthing zone because they will already be aware of your preferences.

It makes you think about option a, b, c . . .

Birth, as with life, can be unpredictable. It can throw you curve balls and veer of the path that you had your heart set on. Writing a birth plan for different types of births is a great way to ensure that you will always feel in control. As you have written these plans with your birth partner they will still be able to advocate for you, even if your initial birth plan gets thrown a curve ball.

It makes you think about after the birth

The 'Golden Hours' after your birth are an important time for you as a new family. Think about whether you would like immediate skin to skin, if you would like to delay weighing of your baby and how you would like your placenta to me delivered. Think about who will contact relatives to let them know the happy news and if you would like visitors at the hospital or not.

Writing a birth plan is a great way of focussing your mind and making you think about all the things that are important to you both. If you would like some extra support on writing your birth plan I have a free PDF to guide you through the process or you can get in touch with me to talk about my birth plan workshop.

During a Hypnobirthing course with me, you will be able to learn about the birthing process along with all the ways that your birth partner can support you during your pregnancy, labour and birth. We also have lots of time to talk about your birth plan, looking at examples and what to include in them.

Above all else, have fun when writing your plans with your partner and remember to print out a few copies, ready to share them with your health care team.

Kelly xxx


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