Giving birth is a huge event that can be scary and daunting. However, there are all different ways of giving birth to suit every individual. Everyone’s body is different and it’s important to put together a birthing plan and consider which birthing method will suit you. This will both put your mind at ease and make the experience go as smoothly as possible. Giving birth is all about you and your comfort when bringing your child into the world. Your birthing plan will need to outline how you want to give birth, which kinds of pain-relief you want to take and what options you have considered if any complications should arise during birth. Remember that a birthing plan is not set in stone, it’s just to give your midwives an idea of how they should prepare for when you go into labour. Here, we’ve laid out several different birthing plan options so you can work out what method is best for you and which options you want to include in your birthing plan.
In a vaginal birth, your baby is born through the birth canal. Vaginal birth is divided into three sections: labour, pushing and delivery of the baby and the delivery of the placenta. This birthing method has the least amount of risk because there is little to no medical intervention.
Caesarean Section (C-section)
A C-section is the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. In certain circumstances, a C-section is planned in advance but otherwise is used in response to unforeseen complications during birth.
During a water birth, either a section of or your entire labour takes place in a pool of warm water. Water births have been known to ease pain, speed up the length of your labour and prevent the need for anaesthesia. A water birth can take place either at home or in certain hospitals.
Forceps or Vacuum delivery
These methods are used in order to assist vaginal childbirth. A health care provider will apply either a vacuum or some forceps to the baby’s head to help guide them out of the birth canal.
This is an injection used to reduce pain and to help you relax. This injection is usually given to you at the start of your labour as it takes around 20 minutes to work.
Gas and air
This is a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide gas. It won’t remove your pain entirely but it will reduce your pain and make it more bearable. Gas and air is popular because it is easy to use and you control your intake by yourself.
An epidural is a special type of local anaesthetic, numbing the nerves that carry pain impulses to your brain. Typically, an epidural provides complete pain relief which is particularly helpful for women experiencing a long or painful labour.
TENS stands for ‘transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation’ and is used to stimulate the body into producing its own natural painkillers, endorphins. The TENS machine is usually most helpful during the early stages of labour especially if you are struggling with back pain.
On your birth plan it is also entirely okay to state that you wish to attempt to go without pain-relief however remember to include other options, just in case.
There are different items of birthing equipment available for you to find the most comfortable position for during your labour including a birthing ball, mat or a beanbag.
Positions and Movement
In your birthing plan you should state how you wish to be positioned to be most comfortable during your labour. For example, if you wish to be kneeling, standing, sat up in bed or lying on your side. You should also consider whether you think moving around during labour would be ideal for you as this can sometimes help with the progress of birth.
Once you’ve got your birthing plan sorted, getting a baby scan can help to ease any remaining worries or anxieties you might still have about the big day. Seeing your baby’s face, features and unique mannerisms is the perfect way to connect with your child and is guaranteed to get you excited for their arrival! Plus, you can show off an adorable photograph of your little one to the rest of the family. No matter how daunting labour might be, a baby scan is the perfect way to keep things in perspective and to keep you full of love and excitement for the day you finally get to meet your baby.