From the minute you tell people you are pregnant, there seems to be an awful lot of talk about birth plans. Should you have one? What should be on it? What do you want? etc etc. Until my third trimester, I must admit I hadn’t given an awful lot of thought to how I wanted things to go.
Very naively at the beginning I thought I wouldn’t have one. Everyone I spoke to said their birth had gone nothing like they had planned. As a bit of a control freak, I thought that if I set my heart on things, I would be disappointed if birth didn’t work out that way and that it would cause unnecessary stress during a time that is likely to be pretty taxing as it it.
I also thought that the midwives, having done this every single day of their career, were probably far better placed than me, who has never done it before, to know what is best for me.
Then I started to read up on birth stories, and Ina May Gaskin’s wonderful Guide to Childbirth book (kindly recommended by the fabulous Hannah). And I realised that while you can be pretty sure that you can’t predict how your labour and birth will pan out, there are many different ways of thinking about childbirth, and many things that I either really did, or really didn’t want to happen.
While I’m still convinced that the midwives are the experts, I do feel that there are some really personal choices that will differ from woman to woman, couple to couple, and that I need to outline these to have the calmest and nicest birth experience that I can have for me.
So, I waddled to the midwife for my 32 week appointment last week and I asked her about when I would be going through my birth plan. She told me that it was too early, that they would probably go through it in the parentcraft classes and that there was information on birth preferences in my maternity notes and online here. She said that they would ask if I had one when I went into labour.
I do feel that if I hadn’t been informed and asked of my own accord that this may not have been bought up. I mentioned it in my 32 week bumpdate, and a few people have commented to say that their midwives haven’t discussed it with them. I find this really odd. If you are pregnant for the first time, how are you supposed to know that you need to do this? Again, I think more information should be given and discussed rather than knowledge just assumed.
So, I’m sure I will add to this as I find out more and read and research more, but for now, my birthing preferences are as follows:
No mirrors please – Some people will think I am crazy, but I have no desire to see my baby or its head until it is fully outside my body.
Freedom of movement – I’d like to be able to move around and find the most confortable positions for labour and birth and not to be restricted to a bed.
No sweeps or episiotomy or ARM (Artificial Rupture of Membrane) – Perhaps I’m naive, but from what I have been reading, it seems that the female body is more than capable of giving birth without this kind of intervention, so unless the baby is in distress or similar, I’d like to allow my body to go through the process in its own time.
Ideally avoid an epidural – I may change my mind when I feel how painful it is though!
Skin-to-skin contact – If baby is well on arrival, I’d like to have this as soon as possible, before the cord is clamped
Delayed cord clamping – Do not clamp until the cord has stopped pulsating ideally.
Dad to announce the gender and cut the cord
Vitamin K injection is fine