A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You may be given an opportunity to draw up a birth plan during your antenatal care. If not, ask your midwife if you can do so.
Discussing a birth plan with your midwife, preferably over several meetings, will give you the chance to ask questions and find out more information. It also gives the midwife the chance to get to know you better and understand your feelings and priorities. You will probably want to think about or discuss some points more fully with your partner, or friends and relatives, before reaching a decision. And you can, of course, change your mind at any time.
There is no one, correct way to give birth. All birth plans have to be drawn up individually and then discussed with your midwife. They depend not only on your own wishes, but also on your medical history and your own circumstances, and on what is available at your own hospital or unit. What may be safe and practical for one mother may not be a good idea for another.
You may be given a special form for a birth plan, or there may be room in your notes. You could use this plan as a guide. It’s a good idea for you to keep a copy of your birth plan with you. The midwife or doctor who cares for you during labour will discuss it with you so they know your wishes. But remember, you may need to be flexible if complications arise with you or the baby. The doctor or midwife will tell you what they advise in your particular circumstances. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you need to.
Read the section on Labour and birth and The first days with your new baby before talking to your midwife, to see if there is anything you feel strongly about and might wish to include. You may find it useful to think about some of these things. You may want to take this book with you to discuss with your midwife.