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A birth plan is a statement of your birthing preferences. This very important topic should be considered while preparing for labour. This record is what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. Discussing a birth plan with your doctor will give you the opportunity to ask questions and find out more of what happens during labour.

It will also help you and your husband decide what you do and don’t want during labour. However, birth may be unpredictable and may not be straightforward so plan for the unexpected and keep your options opened.

Things to consider:

  • Where do you want to give birth.
  • Who do you want as a birth partner
  • Pain relief
  • Which medical routines do and don’t you want. This consists of internal examinations; vaginal examination. People that do not want this won’t know how many centimetres your cervix has dilated. Another medical routine is induction of labour; labour can be induced by your doctor sweeoing the membranes surrounding your baby with her finger, inserting a prostaglandins gel or tablet into the vagina to soften the cervix or using a drug syntocinon via a drug to speed up labour. You may also decide or not to detect any possible complications with your baby’s heartbeat; this is seen as a foetal heart monitoring.
  • What sort of birth do you want? Think of the position such as stranding squat, leaning against a beanbag, laying down flat etc. Do you want to push on demand or spontaneously? Do you want your husband to help cut the cord? Do you want your baby cleaned up immediately or placed on your stomach immediately? Would you want a surgical cut if your baby is in distress; the area is numbed so it doesn’t hurt however the healing process can be very painful.
  • The use of forceps or ventouse (instrumental delivery); this is used when your baby is in distress, you are exhausted and can no longer push. In some cases this means is not debatable.
  • How do you want to feed your baby? Would you prefer to bottle food or breastfeed; you need to be clear about this.
  • Would you prefer to have an epidural or general anaesthetic if you need a caesarean? When an epidural is given, you are conscious throughout and can even feel and hold your baby straight away. However in some cases of emergency, your doctor may have to give you an anaesthetic straightaway because there may be no time for the epidural to work effectively.
  • How long do you want to stay in the hospital; this depends on your type of delivery, and how strong you and your baby are after delivery. Some get discharged on time while some don’t.
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