Your Birth Plan | Emma's Diary India

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Your birth plan

Your Birth Plan
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Help with deciding on your birth preferences

It’s a good idea to start looking into your birth preferences early on in your pregnancy to help you decide how you would like your labour and birth to be managed. One of the things you will need to think about is how you want to give birth. Here, we look at your birth choices and give you ideas to consider.

How you give birth may depend on where you give birth.

Although many hospitals and maternity units offer facilities for different types of birth these days, not all of them offer all the options.

Active birth

Having an active birth means that you will be free to move and walk around during labour and can give birth in the position that you find most comfortable – like squatting or kneeling.

You may also be able to use birthing aids, such as a birthing chair or bean bag.

The benefits of an active birth are:

  • You have greater control over the management of your labour and birth
  • You are not confined to bed
  • It makes first-stage contractions more effective
  • Being upright helps your baby get into the best position for birth
  • It's easier to push
  • Gravity can help speed up the delivery

Natural birth

This means that you will give birth as naturally as possible without drugs or any medical intervention – unless it becomes necessary for your safety or the safety of your baby.

You can use relaxation and breathing techniques to help you cope with contractions and you may also be able to use alternative therapies, such as aromatherapy and acupuncture.

The benefits of a natural birth are:

  • You can be as mobile you want to be
  • You won’t be physically affected by pain-relief drugs
  • Your baby is likely to be less sleepy after the birth.

Water birth

If you want a water birth, you will need to talk to your hospital to see if this is an option they would recommend. Birthpools are usually available in maternity units and you will need to let the maternity unit know you want to use the pool when you call to tell them you are in labour.

Alternatively, if you are having a home birth you can hire one to use at home. If a water birth isn’t possible, you can use a birthpool or a bath filled with warm water to relax you during the first stage of labour and then get out to give birth.

The benefits of using water are:

  • Warm water helps to ease the pain of contractions.
  • It enables you to relax.
  • Promotes a feeling of well-being.

High-tech birth

This is when your labour and birth is controlled by medical methods, such as having an epidural for pain relief. You can choose this type of birth, or you may have no option if your baby is in trouble and an assisted delivery is needed. Another example of a high-tech birth is a Caesarean, which may be needed for medical reasons or carried out as an emergency.

The benefits of a high-tech birth are:

  • You can have reliable pain relief through epidural/spinal anaesthetic.
  • The safe delivery of your baby, if for some reason he can’t be born naturally. Your well-being, if there are any complications.

Your birth preferences

It’s a good idea to discuss your ideal birth preferences with your birth partner and your doctor so that they know how you’d like your labour and birth to be managed.

However, do remember that it’s important to keep an open mind, as you may find you have to make changes as your pregnancy progresses – or if complications arise when you are in labour.

You may also want to include other issues that need to be considered before you go into labour. You'll find space for your birth preferences in your maternity record.

Labour and birth - 12 questions to askyourself

  • Where are you going to have your baby?
  • What kind of birth do you want?
  • Who do you want to be with you as your birth partner?
  • Do you have any special requirements to help you through labour?
  • What is your ideal method of pain relief?
  • Do you want your partner to cut the cord?
  • Would you like your baby to be given to you immediately after being born or when she's been cleaned up?
  • Do you want skin to skin contact straight after the birth?
  • Do you want to breastfeed your baby as soon after the birth as possible?
  • Would you like the placenta to be delivered with the aid of drugs, or naturally?
  • Do you want your baby to be given vitamin K after the birth?
  • Are you happy to have student midwives or medical students present at the birth?

Other issues

  • Have you any cultural needs that your health professionals need to be aware of?
  • Are there any language difficulties?
  • Do you have a special diet?
  • Is transportation to and from the maternity unit likely to be a problem?
  • Will childcare be required for other children?
  • What arrangements need to be made for when you go home?
  • If you don't want bedside photography following the birth of your baby, make sure to mention this to your doctor at the hospital
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