How to make a birth plan, according to the experts

Birth plans: Birth plan ideas and how to write one

by Louella Berryman |

If getting on top of things and feeling like you're organised helps you deal with pregnancy anxiety and stress, then a birth plan is a great idea. You can prepare for the labour while you’re still pregnant by writing a birth plan. This little bit of paperwork will help you to get your head around the process and will make sure you get the best experience for you.

Get inspiration from the experts

You can fill in an online birth plan on the NHS website. If you run your life via your phone, there are plenty of birth plan apps which can store your birth plan as well as organising your medical records and pregnancy diary. There's nobody we trust more in birth than midwives. After helping with hundreds of births, some in-the-know midwives gave us their expert ideas when it came to their own labour plans.

While there’s a long list of practical decisions to be made about what sort of birth experience you want to have, we don’t very often think about labour as a personal journey.

"And what unites positive birth experiences – no matter what kind of birth the mother has had – is that she feels like she has been in the driving seat, and so in control of what’s taken place," says Sheena Byrom OBE, a midwife consultant, leader of the Midwifery Unit Network and author of Catching Babies.

Think about writing three separate birth plans:

"Having different directives for the different people in the room could help make sure that your wishes are articulated and acted on to the greatest extent possible," says Sheena.

How to write a birth plan:

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1) When should I write my birth plan?

‘You’ll want to start thinking about your birth plan at around 32 weeks,’ says Gail Johnson, from the Royal College of Midwives. ‘This gives you the chance to consider your options and ask plenty of questions about labour and birth in advance.’

Birth plan chat with midwives Pip and Naghmeh

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