The first time I’d ever heard about a birth plan, I was quite surprised. I’d thought that preggies just rock up to the hospital screaming bloody murder, the medical team would take care of the rest, and then deliver the baby into your waiting arms.
Thinking back now, I would like to say a big HA HA to that very naive thought.
I was glad that my very first pregnant friend brought it up a couple of years back, when she had her birth plan deadline to meet, as it really turned out to be such an important piece in preparing for the birth of my first child.
I’d done so much reading since getting pregnant – the choices available to you for labour pain management, delivery options, pros and cons of each, emergency situations. Midwife, doula, obstetrician-led – what was all of that?? Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed by it all.
My OB was absolutely cool and anyway not concerned about a birth plan till 36 weeks, but the deadline was looming and I still had not chosen the hospital I would birth at! So I sat down, scribbled some thoughts down, and stuck it in my maternity file.
It looked something like this:
- Water birth
- Pain management – yoga positions, remaining active, acupressure, gas & air
- No epidural unless requested (to which my doula asked, how many times should you ask before we allow it? LOL)
- C-section only when life threatened
- Undisturbed skin-to-skin immediately after delivery, breastfeeding
- Natural placenta delivery
- Nothing given or applied to the baby unless approved by parents
- All interventions to be clearly explained, understood and consented before proceeding
That first draft really helped as there was only 1 hospital with water birthing facilities in Dubai, so that was settled. I was very interested early on in having a water birth, and the deal was sealed as soon as my OB mentioned she was in full support – LOVE her to bits!!
I was later presented with a birth plan template by my doula. It was even clearer and super easy to fill in as it presents you with all the options available to you; all you have to do is tick the boxes. It was even a template from the hospital I would birth at, so I was reassured with the document because the midwife on duty would already be familiar with it. Apparently there women who completely reject the template as they want to have their birth plans printed on fancy, scented, pink, initialised stationery, but I think the plain tick-the-boxes hospital one would be clear as day to anyone on duty that day.
Hypnobirthing techniques was added on after I met my doula.
So there! Birth plan accomplished!