It is a good idea to write a draft birth plan to discuss with your doctor prior to delivery (at around 32 weeks), fine tune it and pack a few copies in your hospital bag to give to the attending staff. In your summary you will discuss what type of birth you want, what type of pain relief and your general preferences and expectations.

You will need a who’s who section to introduce the members of your family/friends that plan to attend the birth.

Birth Plan: Stage 1

The next item that should be addressed is how you want Stage One to proceed. In this section you may outline whether you want to be able to have full mobility and whether you want to be able to use the shower and/or bath facilities to relax you as your labour progresses. Also outline your preference for the use of birthing balls, massage and other relaxation techniques you want to try. You may want to indicate here whether you want a perineum massage. It is in this portion that you discuss pain relief options such as gas or an epidural (which should be administered by a trained Obstetric Anesthetist if possible) and think about whether you want it turned down or off for the pushing stage.

Induction in your Birth Plan

If your labour requires induction or acceleration of labour, you may want a discussion with your physician about artificial membrane rupture and some women want to know about sterile water treatments.

In your Delivery portion of your Birth Plan you may indicate whether or not you are comfortable with the use of vacuum suction or forceps. If a C-section is warranted, indicate who you wish to be present.

Specifics About After Delivery in your Birth Plan

Make sure your doctor knows whether or not you want to have the baby placed on your chest immediately after the delivery, whether you want to begin breastfeeding right away and if your partner/husband wants to cut the umbilical cord.

Finally, you may want to outline your wishes for aftercare and how you want to feed the baby. Some women have strong feelings about formula and pacifiers. Let your physician know that you would like a lactation consultant to see you as soon as possible to help you learn how to breastfeed.