Useful information on why you should have a birth plan and the associated benefits of planning on your labour experience and your baby's delivery.
Why have a birth plan and what are the benefits?
A birth plan is a written record of how you'd ideally like your labour, delivery and care afterwards to proceed. It can include anything you feel strongly about.
Making a birth plan helps you to consolidate in your mind what's important to you and how you want your labour and baby's birth to be handled.
Obviously, you do have to be flexible, as there's no way of knowing if your labour will be straightforward. However, it would be a shame for that once-in-a-lifetime experience to be spoiled by something that could easily have been changed, for example, being left to discover your baby's sex for yourselves.
Thinking about all these things in advance means that you can get as close as possible to having the birth you want.
If you have a birth plan in your notes when you go into labour, the midwives or doctors involved will do their best to stick to it. However, depending on how your labour progresses, this might not be possible. Making a birth plan might be part of your antenatal care, but this varies from area to area. At your next antenatal appointment, ask what the situation is where you live.
Even if you are making your own birth plan, it is best to discuss it with your midwife. With her experience and knowledge of your medical history, she will be able to recommend the best options for you and answer any questions you may have, giving you the chance to fill in any gaps in your knowledge about the actual birth. This also gives your midwife a chance to find out what is important to you and what is worrying you so that she can help you as much as possible.
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