As your pregnancy progresses I’m sure a lot of your thoughts have been focused on the type of birthing experience that you would like to have. So it makes sense that prior to your birthing day your intentions or anything you feel strongly about is documented in a written document called your “birthing preferences” or also called a “birth plan”.
So what are birth preferences or birth plans?
Basically it is an outline of your preferences for birth given to caregivers so they are informed of your choices for labour, delivery and post birth care. It should also include your wishes for what happens if an emergency arises. In Hypnobirthing we use the term “birthing preferences” rather than “birth plan”, because as you can imagine birth does not always go to plan! However by writing down your birth preferences for each stage of labour you can control the planning and choices that you make. A Hypnobirthing affirmation that we teach parents supports this concept “I am prepared to calmly meet whatever turn by birthing takes”. Hypnobirthing equips women with the tools to have a calm, positive birthing experience.
So why is choosing birth preferences a good idea?
There are many benefits for writing out your birth preferences. Apart from caregivers being informed of your choices for the birthing process, you get to outline the important choices for your birth. By having a plan in place means you are more aware of your choices. In order to make choices, you will need to be informed and this means researching your options regarding birth. By researching the options available you will be able to make informed decisions and be educated and empowered about the choices that you have made. If you are planning on delivering your baby with as little intervention as possible, researching your options will enable you to understand the benefits and disadvantages of the common interventions that may be offered to you in labour.
Another benefit is that your birthing partner/support person will get to know what you want too. By discussing the preferences prior to the birth the partner will be informed of the decisions and able to advocate for the mother during labour and be an integral part of the birthing process. Birth partners are an important part of Hypnobirthing classes as they practice and guide the mother through the relaxation techniques, visualisations and hypnosis and are a main source of support. It also allows the partner to feel like they have a “role” in the birthing process and are fully equipped to be an active participant.
In Hypnobirthing classes we also focus on the importance of birth preferences in more detail and the notion that women should be able to birth comfortably and without unnecessary interventions. We even provide a template that couples can use as a basis for their birth preferences.
For the positive birth experience that you deserve to have, don’t forget to be informed, be prepared and to trust that your body knows what to do!
Birth Guru Jenny Blyth and I at her "Amazing Space" workshop.
Hi, I'm Sam. I'm a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner, Clinical Nurse, wife and mother of two. I'm passionate about all things to do with birth and have a strong interest in perinatal mental health and birth trauma. I would love to support you on your journey towards a positive birth!