Your birth plan
Your midwife will encourage you to make a birth plan. This enables you to consider your choices and what you would like to happen during the birth.
The plan goes into your maternity notes or app.
Feelings matter too
As well as the physical things you have decided on, it’s also important to consider your emotional needs in your birth plan.
You might want to say:
- how you are feeling about giving birth
- whether there are things you are really worried about
- something else really important to you.
Your plan, your way
Some things to think about for your birth plan:
- Who you want to be with you at the birth
- Where you want to give birth
- What is important to you when moving into different positions during labour and birth
- How you want your baby’s heart rate to be checked and monitored
- How you feel about having your labour induced or your contractions increased
- What kind of pain relief you may like access to in labour, including self-help techniques available in your area
- Options, risks and benefits of assisted delivery, in case your baby needs help or urgent help to be born
- How you want the third stage of your labour to be managed – this is when the placenta and membranes are delivered
- Whether you want your baby to have vitamin K after they’re born
- How you'll have skin-to-skin contact with your baby when they’re born
Be prepared for your plans to change
Remember that sometimes birth plans have to change when your labour starts or during labour.
You may not always be able to have the birth you planned.
Some women feel guilty if their baby needs help to be born.
Your baby’s safety and yours are very important, so it can help to think of it as changing your plans to keep your baby safe.
Who'll be with you at the birth?
Most women have someone with them as well as their midwife when they give birth.
This could be:
- your baby's dad or your partner - but it doesn’t have to be
- a close friend
- a family member
- your antenatal teacher
It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as it’s someone you feel comfortable with.
Some women choose to have 2 people with them.
Tell your birthing partner about the plan
It’s a good idea to talk about your plan with whoever will be with you at the birth.
If they know what you expect to happen and what your decisions are, they’ll be able to give you the right support.
If you’re going to be on your own during labour, your midwife will be there to help and support you.
Water can help you relax during labour and women often say that it helps them to move about more easily and cope better with their contractions.
Your baby can be born in water with the support of your midwife, or you can use the pool for your labour only and decide to get out for your baby’s birth if you prefer.
Giving birth in a birthing pool
Some hospitals have a birthing pool or a large bath they use for labour.
You can hire a special pool to use at home or in the maternity unit if they don’t have one. It's sometimes possible to put you in touch with someone who no longer needs theirs and you'd only need to pay for a liner.
If you're thinking about a birth in water, either at home or in hospital, talk to your midwife.
Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.
08 April 2022
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