Planning the best birth for you

Why bother?

Birth plans help set the ‘tone’ for the sort of labour and birth you’re hoping for, and help communicate this to your midwife. While there’s no reason why you can’t talk things through with the midwife when you arrive on the labour ward or when she comes to your home, you might be so focused on labour that you don’t have the time or inclination to strike up a conversation.

Writing a birth plan is a very personal thing. What’s important to you might not matter to someone else. But if something is important to you, that’s more than enough reason to make your midwives aware of it through your birth plan.

How to write your birth plan

The best way to make a birth plan for your midwife is to write it as a letter. It’s far more personal than, for example, a form printed off a website, and it helps get across your personality to the midwife caring for you. Rather than just completing boxes, put something of yourself in the plan and explain what you and your partner want and why. Some antenatal notes have a space for you to include your birth plan, or you could just write one up separately. But remember to hand it in when you find out who’ll be caring for you in labour.

To make the best decisions for you, your partner and your baby, you need information, and it’s never too early to find out what’s available in terms of birthing pools, pain relief and so on. By reading up on labour, talking to other mums’, going to antenatal classes and chatting to your midwife, you’ll get a feel for the sort of birth you hope to have.

What if I change my mind?

Don’t worry, birth plans aren’t set in stone. No one’s going to wave your birth plan in front of you and say, ‘But you said here?’ Labour changes, and so can your plans. You might not have any strong feelings about what you want or don’t want, and that’s fine too!