Ogilvy_0707 RET
04 May

Writing our birth plan (or options)

Now that the big day is getting closer, it’s time to put together the infamous Birth Plan, or Birth Options as our NCT instructor liked to call them, because the birth rarely goes to plan.

Since watching the Water Babies DVD, I’ve really wanted a water birth. It just seems like a really nice way to bring a baby into the world. The midwives at Kingston Hospital were kind enough to show me the waterbirthing suite yesterday. One thing that struck me immediately is that I’m going to need a fan! The temperature of the water plus the temperature of the UK at the moment equals one hot mama.

I’m also going to need earplugs. In my NCT class, we were told that women in labour often sound like cows. Well, when I was leaving the unit, I heard a woman screaming and there was nothing bovine about it. It sounded more like an air raid siren. I hastily made my exit and did breathing exercises in the car until I could forget the sound she made.

There are loads of details that go into a birth plan, from who you want your birthing partner to be to what position you’d like to be in. Here are some of the more pressing considerations that I’ve made:

Pain relief. Do you want any? I am going to try to do without pain relief (gas and air at a push). In speaking with my father the other day, I learned that my mother wanted to have a pain-relief free birth with me, but that she got drugs halfway through. I’m hoping that all the work I’ve put into learning breathing exercises and the pain-relieving qualities of water will help me out on this one. Wish me luck!

Induction of labour. If it comes to it, how far down the induction ladder do I want to go? It starts with a cervical sweep by the midwife. If that doesn’t work, it moves onto a prostaglandin pessary. The issue with induction, from my understanding, is that it tends to bring on intense labour quite quickly, which means it’s more likely you’d want pain relief. In my NCT class, they taught us that it also makes other things like episiotomy more likely. I REALLY want to avoid that. The worst thing about induction for me is that it would mean I wouldn’t be allowed to have my water birth.

Feeding the baby & skin-to-skin contact. Are you planning to breastfeed the baby? If yes, then the first instance of this should happen soon after birth (assuming all has gone well). According to NICE guidelines (read 1.3), skin-to-skin contact with the mother is recommended directly after the birth for up to an hour (you need to specify that you want this though). We were shown this video in our NCT breastfeeding class and it’s amazing how the baby seems to know what to do. It crawls all on its own right up to the breast, within one hour of being born. This vid is a bit propogranda-like, but you’ll still get the message. There are loads of other videos on You Tube about breast crawls.

Placenta delivery. Do you want it to happen with drugs to speed it up or do you want it to come out naturally? I’m all for natural, baby; however, my placenta has ridden low during a lot of my pregnancy, so this may not be an option (it has now moved up so I can have a natural birth).

Who do you want in the room? How many people do you want in the room with you while giving birth? Just you, your partner and midwife? Your doula? What about students?

Room setting. What sort of lighting do you want? (I want low lighting.) Do you want music? James and I are working on an iPod mix for playing during the birth. There are a lot of showtunes on it.

Cord cutting. Who gets to cut the umbilical cord? Some fathers like to do this. When I asked James if he wanted to do this, the look of horror on his face gave me the answer. You may want to specify that you only want the cord cut once it has stopped pulsing as schools of thought believe that the baby is still receiving nutrients from it.

I am viewing writing my Birth Plan/Options as more of a way of getting James’ and my thoughts in order about the kind of birth we’d like to have. We are both completely aware that it is highly unlikely that we’ll get to have the perfect birth according to our plan. However, it’s been nice to visualise the kind of birth we’d like and to talk about it together. After all, in the birth room, he’s my own personal Jedi, fighting to make sure my wishes are met as much as possible.

I’m at 37 weeks today, which means baby Abdul could come at any time (although not until the carpets are in next week, please!). I spend a lot of time crawling around on all fours, as taught in yoga, to help get her into the right position. I’m drinking my raspberry leaf tea and I am starting acupuncture next week. I already do reflexology. Let’s see if we can get this party started.



  1. 04 May


    We spent three weeks, yes THREE whole WEEKS, writing my birth plan. I had always planned to have a home birth, wanted gas and air (more for the experience!) had bought the birthing pool, made a playlist of songs and stocked up the cupboard with ‘energy snacks’ to keep me going.

    In the end I was in labour throughout the night without realising (I just thought it was the worst back ache ever) had no contractions, hubby rang the midwives who didn’t want to rush, when they eventually got to the house they said the baby was on its way. We had no time to set up the pool, listen to the well-chosen playlist or eat the snacks as our little girl was born half an hour later on the toilet *oops*
    Its certainly a useful tool though!

  2. 04 May


    I was induced with both of my pregnancies and I can say that they were intense. I had wanted to go pain med free with my second but it just wasn’t an option for me. BUT most of my meds had worn off by the time it was time to push and actually that worked quite well. I felt everything and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had worried it would be.
    As for the screaming, maybe it’s different without pain meds but I didn’t find that the pain, especially with my second, was so excruciating that I needed to scream. The breathing really does help!!
    Your birth will be beautifully wonderful because the end result will be your amazing daughter!

  3. 05 May


    In our NCT group we had a Lady with similar no drugs plans… she goes rather coy about it now and for her 2nd.. first thing she asked was “i want drugs and i want them now”!!! :)

  4. 07 May


    As a midwife I thought I would list the things I find really handy to know when looking at a birth plan. I do still discuss all these things with the women I care for at the time though, in case they have changed their mind and just to ensure they have been told the right information prior to making a decision. Trust me there is a lot of dodgy, unfounded advice out there and it is your midwife’s job to ensure you make an informed decision about anything to do with your birth experience. A birth plan enables me to find out a couple’s preferences quickly on meeting them, which can be really handy when things are moving fast or there is little opportunity for discussion. Things I personally really like to know are how you feel about having a student midwife present, your plans for pain relief so I can ensure you are in the right place (where I work we can’t provide epidurals on the midwifery led unit and waterbirth on the delivery suite etc), who will be joining you, if there is anyone you really don’t want in the room (eg your insistent mother-in-law!), your plans for feeding your baby and how you would like the placenta delivered. I think you will find most things your midwife will discuss with you as your labour goes along. With regard to pain relief I always advise to research all options available but keep an open mind. It’s great and so empowering when someone does it without any, but some women feel so disappointed when they end up needing something and they shouldn’t, it hurts like hell! Some of my best births have been with women that have had every drug going because they are happy and comfortable with their decision. Most midwives are like me and happy to support you in whatever you choose so long as it makes it the experience right for you. With regards to induction of labour, it is rarely done without good reason, so ensure that if you are being advised to be induced you are happy you understand the reasons for it, the process and your options. xx

  5. 07 May


    The only thing I’d add is to say please don’t beat yourself up about it or feel ‘guilty’ if you do choose to have pain relief. Every birth is different, just as every baby is different.

    While I truly do admire those women who do go through labour drug-free I know that I couldn’t have gone through my son’s birth without help. Some women seem to think that makes my experience less ‘worthy’, but no-one can possibly say 100% that they would have been able to go through my birth experience without pain relief, because I was the only one who experienced it.

    Sorry it’s a bit of a rant, but this is something I feel very strongly about. There are many fabulous women in this world…and their ability to give birth ‘naturally’, or even conceive naturally, doesn’t make them any more or less fabulous – what matters as a mum is bringing up your precious bundle to be the best person they can be.

  6. 09 May


    Birth plans do go out of the window :) I planned on water birth, but there were no pools available when I got to Kingston Hospital. But to be honest, at that point I didn’t really care – I just wanted the baby out!
    In terms of pain-relief, I’m still amazed I managed without any (apart from TENS), although when I was having my 3rd night of contractions I really really really really wanted SOMETHING – not so much to make the pain go away, but to be able to get some sleep.

    And for the breastfeeding… Expect the worse. Then you won’t be disappointed if the baby doesn’t make the necessary moves and gets sucking within minutes of birth. Mine went for weeks on expressed milk and formula until I managed to get him to latch on properly – not without help of cranial osteopaths and breastfeeding consultants (by they way, if you ever need help – Anna Page in Kingston is a brilliant consultant).

    I hope everything goes well with your birth!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *