Giving birth is an exciting life event. Making some decisions about what you want during labour and birth, before you’re actually in labour, can help make your experience more positive. This is called a birth plan.
Your birth plan
Labour and birth can be unpredictable. But if you have a birth plan, you’ll have some control. Here’s what to consider:
1. How do you want to deal with pain?
2. How do you feel about intravenous (IV), pitocin inductions, amniotomies and episiotomies?
3. How much time do you want to spend with your baby and other family members right after the birth?
4. Does your hospital have a comfortable, welcoming birthing room in which you can labour, give birth and recover?
5. What about freedom of movement during labour and birth? Can you walk around during labour if you want to (and your doctor says it’s safe)? Later, in labour, can you try alternating positions, such as lying on your side, sitting, semi-sitting or other positions?
Your birth partner
Research shows that women who have a birth partner or helper during childbirth generally have shorter labours and fewer medical problems. Your doctor may only be there for the birth – and depending on when you go into labour, a different doctor may be there in his (or her) place. A birth helper can help you relax and work through the pain of contractions. The helper can be your partner, a friend, relative, labour coach, midwife or childbirth instructor.