An important aspect of our Calmbirth classes was preparing our birth preferences or intentions. These have also been known as birth plans but the word plan implies that everything will proceed in a particular, described order which we know with birthing isn’t necessarily the case, hence your birth preferences describes how you would ideally like for everything to proceed).
Now, I’ll be absolutely honest. In the weeks leading up to the birth of our firstborn, I presented this to my Doctor (let’s just say he wasn’t known for being particularly on-board with Calmbirth techniques) and, I kid you not, I swear I saw him roll his eyes. He merely glanced at it, he definitely didn’t read it, and I can’t recall now whether it made it’s way in to my file or whether it was handed back to me. In any case, he wasn’t giving it the time of day and it was clear he wasn’t interested. He was very much the old-school “I’m the Doctor and I’m in control” type. Now don’t get me wrong, I have a great deal of respect for both him and all medical professionals, but I’d spent a long time working on that document!
When the time came, it lay neatly folded in my hospital bag which was nicely left in the car as we didn’t think I was in labour (a must-read calm and pain-free birthing story if you haven’t already)!
So despite my physical birth preferences document being of very little help or importance to the medical team, I am still so glad I took the time to compile it. It really helped me condense what I had learnt and confirm the outcome I was hoping for. It helped me feel empowered and confident as I prepared to birth.
Here is my document. Can I encourage you to review and take some time to perhaps prepare your own based on your own personal preferences?
Birth Preferences of XXX & XXX
Estimated Due Date: XXX
Please find following our preferences for the birth of our 1st child. We ask that you please respect our wishes as much as possible in helping us have the birth we desire. We realise that as labour progresses we may choose to change our thinking and wish to feel free to do so. We trust that you will support us and respect our wishes to birth our baby as naturally as possible. We understand that these choices presume a normal pregnancy, labour and birth. Should a situation arise which constitutes a medical emergency, please know that you will have our complete co-operation.
- Of the most importance to us of course is simply to birth a healthy baby, with XXX (mum)’s health also a priority.
- We request that only the following be admitted into the birthing suite: Dr XXX & midwives, husband XXX and Student Midwife XXX, unless a medical emergency arises.
- We would like to birth our baby as naturally as possible – we are planning to use the knowledge and skills acquired from the Calmbirth and hospital ante-natal classes as well as other sources.
- Please don’t suggest the use of medical analgesia/anaesthesia or unnecessary interventions… we are aware these are available and will request medication if any is required.
- We request that the birthing environment be kept as peaceful as possible including having the door closed, dim lighting and music of our choice.
- We request a birthing suite with a bath and would like to use the bath once labour is established. As long as XXX is comfortable in the bath, we ask that she not be requested to move.
- If midwives XXX or XXX are working (trained in Calmbirth techniques) we would request their presence if at all possible.
- XXX (mum) would prefer not to have a cannula inserted upon admission as she would like the freedom to move around as much as possible and change positions as she desires. We would like to allow gravity to assist us in the birthing of our baby and would like to be free to walk and adopt appropriate positions.
- We request not to have XXX’s membranes ruptured unless discussed with us first.
- We request that labour be allowed to progress in the most natural way possible without unnecessary inducement or interventions to ‘hurry things along’.
- Please discuss with us, time permitting, any intervention you feel may be required and allow us to be involved in any decisions that need to be made.
- XXX (husband) would like to assist with the delivery of our baby if possible.
- We don’t know the sex of our baby so please feel free to shout it out as soon as you know (if XXX can announce it, that would be wonderful)!!!
- We also request that our baby be given immediate skin-to-skin contact by being placed on XXX (mum)’s stomach with the cord to be clamped only after pulsation has ceased and to be cut by XXX (dad). We request skin-to-skin time for at least an hour after birth providing mother and baby are well.
- We fully support breast feeding and ask that our baby be offered the breast as early as possible and that our baby not be removed from mothers chest/arms (ie for weighing, measuring) unless medically necessary until after the first feed.
- If felt necessary, XXX (mum) is happy to receive an injection of oxytocin to aid in the contraction of the uterus and delivery of the placenta but only after the baby’s cord has been cut.
- We ask that no injections or medical procedure be performed on our baby without our consent.
Thank you so much for your co-operation! We are very much looking forward to this experience and thank you in advance for all of your assistance!