Throughout your pregnancy you will have been thinking about how labor will start, what sort of pain relief you would like, how you’d like to feed your baby and who you’d like to be in with you when you give birth.
We traditionally call this a birth plan, but I often wonder if this is a good term for something which is so unpredictable.
I often wonder if the term should be “birth preferences”. It is after all, deciding what you’d like to happen and being aware of what some of the alternatives may be in the event that labour deviates from your expectations.
Antenatal care should include a discussion about the options available to you but also inform you about what happens when labour isn’t progressing exactly as the text books say (which is often the case) every woman is different, every labour is different.
As a private midwife I offer women the option to develop a plan with their partners. A specific appointment where we summarise what they’ve learnt during antenatal classes, we discuss what they would prefer, but with a knowledge that if labour is faster or slower they might opt for something different. We talk about feeding and I try to ensure that partners feel empowered to speak up for the mother in labour explaining that often she may not be able to advocate for her own wishes. Although much of this information will have been discussed during classes, women and their partners may feel more comfortable about asking questions in this one on one session.
I have been pleasantly surprised to find that women who are having subsequent children are often keen to discuss what happened in their last labour and how they would like to try something different (for example: without an induction or an epidural this time). It is a chance to learn about active birthing options if they’ve had an epidural last time. Active birthing meaning that you remain “active” which assists the progress of the baby, through the pelvis. Often when women have an epidural they are required to stay in bed which can slow the progress of labour.
We also talk about the effects of hormones during labour and how fear and anxiety may interfere with the progress of labour.This is really important because if we can dispel some of the fear/anxiety , then we might help women cope better with the labour progress.
While there are many templates you could use to show your (labour) midwife, it can just be a list which you and your antenatal midwife have written out together.
Article written by Kate Bergamasco, Midwife;
My private Midwife : “ Helping families to flourish in their new role as parents “
Kate Bergamasco is a wife and proud mother of two children. She runs My Private Midwife: offering empathic support for women and families during pregnancy and after birth of their baby.
Kate is a registered Nurse, midwife, child health nurse and breastfeeding consultant with 22 years experience.
“I aim to provide a friendly, warm and personalised service to women and their families as they adapt to the role of parents. I understand that the birth of your baby while filled with joy can also be quite overwhelming. These feelings can be emphasised when parents are not supported with family and friends nearby. I aim to empower parents ,helping them adapt to their role and develop confidence and networks within their community.
I have worked as a midwife for 22 years in the community and public and private hospitals in Adelaide and Victoria and am now able to provide that same support as a private (Medicare eligible) midwife to families during pregnancy and in their early weeks at home.”