Good Reasons to Write Birth Preferences
Good Reasons to write birth preferences?
Birth preferences can be a great communication tool to use during pregnancy and labour to initiate discussion on how you would like things to proceed if all is going well.
You don’t have to write down birth preferences but if you do it is important to prepare for labour and have an understanding of the birth process. Remember you can change your mind about your preferences at any time.
Birth preferences are not about dictating how staff do their job but they help staff understand the kind of birth you would like.
It can help you decide how you want to handle different scenarios and it can help the midwife get to know you and how best to support you in labour.
Talk over your preferences with your midwife or doctor during pregnancy, this will enable you and your partner to share the decision making with the midwife or doctor.
Writing birth preferences does not guarantee what will happen during your labour or during the birth of your baby.
You cannot control everything that will happen but some things you can control.
Writing down your preferences encourages you to look at different situations that can arise, what options are available and therefore on the day there should be less surprises as you will be more informed.There aren’t any guarantees in labour so if someone is expecting that birth preferences are going to guarantee that something will or won’t happen during labour and delivery then they could really be setting themselves up for disappointment.
You need to be flexible and prepared to do things differently from your birth preferences if complications occur with you or your baby.
Your birth preferences are personal to you. They will depend on not only what you want but also on you medical history, your circumstances and what facilities are available to you in your hospital.
Here is a sample birth preferences template you could use to get you started and to discuss with your midwife or doctor during pregnancy:
Birth Preference Template
We are looking forward to having a positive birth experience
We appreciate your support during this special time
We understand that medical intervention might be necessary but we hope it is kept to a minimum and staff refrain from unnecessary intervention for example breaking my waters or using a drip to speed up my labour.
Below are our birth preferences:
I would like to keep vaginal examination to a minimum please unless you are concerned about our baby.
I would like to remain up and about for as long as possible and be facilitated in birthing positions to allow for descent of my baby.
Use of intermittent fetal monitoring
I would like self-directed breathing / pushing during the second stage of labour until crowning of my baby’s head.
I would like my partner to announce sex of baby.
I would like immediate skin to skin contact with my baby.