Your pregnancy, your midwife, your choice


23 Sep

Dads Labour Bag

Most of the articles about packing a bag for labour are written for mums. But the truth is - she's going to be busy labouring and you're the one who is going to need the stuff. Therefore, I think it's really important that dad's should not only pack a bag and plan to bring it with them, but they should also decide what goes in it.

Here's my list of things dad's need to bring to the hospital or birth centre just for themselves:

• Toothbrush and toothpaste (Travel size is perfect.)
• Sweater and T-shirt to layer your clothes.
• Change of clothes. Labour might be long or you might not go home to get more clothes before baby comes home.
• Helpful hints from childbirth class. Do you have any specific handouts?
• Camera, batteries, video, film and the like. While it's on her list - you'll be held responsible.
• Mobile phone and phone list, for during or after calls.
• Snacks you like. Avoid garlic, onion and anything with a strong odour. Go for power foods, cereal bars, chocolate bars and nut bars are good, plus fresh fruit and a sandwich if you get time to make it. Don’t forget to take drinks too, tea and coffee will usually be provided but it’s a good idea to have some isotonic sports drinks to keep you and mum going!
• Labour support tools you may need: massage tools, special oils, and soft face flannels. Visualization pictures if hypnobirthing. Extra pillows always come in handy too.
• Your own medications that you take regularly. I'd also advise you take your own pain reliever of choice should you get a headache.
• Music for labour and something to play it on that’s battery operated.
• Pen, paper, watch.
• Something to keep you busy should you have a few free minutes, like a book, magazine or puzzles.

Plus anything else you can think of that may help you and your partner feel more comfortable.

I wish you a very happy birthing day and hope this list has proved helpful.

Please let me know if you found something that you would like to recommend to other dads-to-be and I will add it to the list.

Best wishes, 

Amanda, One to One Midwife

25 Nov

Should I write my own birth plan?

A birth plan provides your midwife with an easy to read document that summarises your preferences for labour and the immediate after care of your new born baby.

1. Benefits?

It is a good idea to create a birth plan because it:

  • Prepares you for the birth by thinking through ‘what if’ scenarios in advance of labour, e.g. if I go beyond my due date I would prefer ‘to be’ or ‘not be’ induced. Or, what I want my partner to do when the signs of labour start.
  • Allows you to explore options with your midwife and ask for more information during your antenatal appointments.
  • Provides a focus for pregnancy book research, ante-natal classes and when talking to other mums.
  • Creates a realistic plan of preferences based on reality; available hospital facilities, your health, home birth suitability, hospital practices and procedures.
  • Helps build a supportive relationship with medical staff by introducing you and your birthing partner to midwives, registrars and anesthetists.
  • Increases confidence because you are informed, prepared and have included a number of comfort strategies that work for you.
  • Helps you focus attention on birthing during labour because you have a document stating your wishes.
  • Communicates your wishes clearly to medical staff when you may not be able to do so verbally.
  • Is unique to your specific circumstances, medical history and personal preferences.

2. What if something unexpected happens in labour?

Your birth plan is not set in stone; it is a list of your ‘ideal’ preferences. Once you are in labour, you may change your mind about certain things (e.g. pain relief) or the midwife may suggest a different course of action depending on the well being of you and your baby.

Write the birth plan in the knowledge that your options are flexible and it will help you to remain calm and confident should the birthing of your baby take a different turn from what you were hoping.

3. What do midwives think of birth plans?

Midwives are in favour of birth plans because it familiarises you with the stages of labour, pain relief and different forms of medical intervention. If you and your birthing partner are well informed you are less likely to feel intimidated by medical equipment or jargon. Consequently you are more confident, relaxed and positive about going into labour.

Your midwife will be familiar with reading birth plans. Some midwives in the UK are trained as Hypnobirthing practitioners which places emphasis on the creation of a birth plan.

Although medical care is paramount to midwives, they also provide tremendous physical comfort, emotional support and encouragement – they are most definitely on your side!

4. What should I include in my birth plan?

The best birth plans are short and use bullet points which allow carers to quickly understand preferences without having to flick through reams of pages.

The key sections in your birth plan include:

  • Personal Information – details you and your partner or supporters name.
  • Environment – subdued lighting, water birth.
  • First Stage Preferences – pain relief, monitoring evaluations, labour positions, eating / drinking.
  • Second Stage Preferences – pushing / breathing, the birth, skin to skin, holding the baby before checks.
  • Third Stage Preferences – how the placenta is delivered naturally or medically where the midwife administer drugs.
  • Care of Our Baby – handling of baby by staff, wish to breast feed baby.
  • In Case of Cesarean – pain relief, bottle feed or breast feed, support required.
  • Other Considerations – summary of above, recognition that birth may not go according to plan and that well being of baby and mother is paramount.

5. Where can I download a real mum’s birth plan?

You can download an example of a Mindful Mum’s birth plan stating preferences for her first baby’s birth to be a normal, natural water birth with minimal medical intervention.

Free Birth Plan

The birth plan is free to download. 

Personalise the plan based on your own research and preferences. Familiarise your partner with the plan so they can act as your advocate. Remember to include it in your maternity notes and take a copy to the hospital with you.

6. When should I start writing my birth plan?

Start thinking about your birth plan at around 28 weeks so that it coincides with any antenatal classes you may be taking. You are technically at full term at 37 weeks, so it is a good idea to have completed it by 36 or 37 weeks.

Blog Post by Sue Collinson, One to One Midwife

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