How To Make A Birth Plan: A Complete and Detailed Guide For Singapore Parents
A birth plan is a document that tells your doctor and the hospital staff how you'd like your labour and delivery to progress. Here are 15 questions you might want to include in your plan.
Pregnancy is a long journey towards childbirth. While there are many changes that a mother’s body will undergo, there are also many things for which you need to prepare. More than checking off the list for your baby’s nursery, you need to have a plan for your delivery. But what is a birth plan and why is it important?
In this article, we will discuss the importance of having a birth plan, as well as the advantage of birth plans for first-time mums.
What Is a Birth Plan and Why Is It Important?
A birth plan is a document that tells your doctor and the hospital staff how you’d like your labour and delivery to progress. This is important so you and your doctor can be on the same page when it comes to delivering your baby.
Having a birth plan allows you to communicate your wants and needs, as well as giving your doctor the chance to offer your alternatives in case something unexpected happens.
Birth plans for first-time mums is not just a good idea, it will help make the process easier for you.
While a birth plan is a good way to prepare for birth, do remember that labour and delivery is an extremely unpredictable process. There are times when your doctor will be unable to follow your requests, so you will have to be flexible here.
Unfortunately, some doctors in Singapore charge an additional amount (between $150-$350) to review your birth plan so it’s best to clarify this from the beginning.
How To Make A Birth Plan
However, do also note that there are just as many doctors who will gladly review and follow your birth plan without any additional costs.
If you are wondering how to make a birth plan, it’s quite simple. Whether it’s a birth plan for natural birth or birth plan for C-section, there are factors you need to consider.
Here are a few questions you might want to include in your sample birth plan:
1. I would like to give birth at _______ (Hospital? Home? Etc)
2. If labour begins naturally, when would you like to be admitted?
You may begin to start feeling contractions hours before your water breaks, so it’s completely up to you whether you want to head right off. Going to the hospital too early may mean that you end up waiting in the ward for a long time to go into true labour. And, labouring at home for the first stages may be more comfortable, compared to being hooked up to a monitor. Should you wish to give birth at home, making a birth plan for home birth will be helpful.
3. What birthing aids would you like?
A birthing pool (only available at NUH) birthing stool, birthing ball, aromatherapy, music, heat packs, a mirror so you can see your birth?
4. What sort of ambience would you like the hospital to be?
Would you like dim lights, music to be playing?
When making a sample birth plan, it is best to discuss this with your husband or partner so you are both on the same page when the time comes for your delivery. It will also be great to discuss your birth plan for home birth with your midwife or doula beforehand.
Who do you want in the room with you when you deliver and/or need a C-section? Having a partner you can lean on or support can be very useful during labour. Most hospitals in Singapore allow a maximum of just 1 companion in your birthing room (excluding your doula).
Would you like this companion to be your spouse or your own mother perhaps?
Labour Questions You Need To Ask In Your Birth Plan
1. About labour and delivery options
There are several labour and delivery options available to you as an expectant mother. You could opt for natural birth without pain relief, natural birth with pain relief, or an elective C-section.
Explore and think about your options. You won’t be in the right state of mind to make a decision during labour, so plan beforehand. Discuss this with your doctor, and also someone who knows your medical history and can give you more information.
2. Inducing Labour
Are you willing to have induced labour? Your doctor may suggest induction if he or she is not available to deliver your baby on your due date. You may also have contractions but your water has not broken. In either case, you need to decide when you want labour to begin.
It’s worth giving serious thought beforehand, especially if you’re wanting relatively drug-free labour and delivery. There could be circumstances that you may not expect, so talk to your doctor.
3. Birth plan for c-section
Are you willing to have an emergency C-section if required?
4. Birth plan for natural birth
Are you open to an episiotomy? An episiotomy is a surgical cut to your perineum, which is the muscular area between your vagina and your back passage. This cut helps your baby to be born, particularly if you’re having an assisted birth or if your vagina is not stretching enough during birth.
Birth plans for first-time mums are helpful, but if you’ve had a C-section before and you’re planning a natural birth this time around, you should also make a birth plan for VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean).
Birth Plan: Afterbirth Preferences
1. What would you like to do with the placenta after giving birth?
Would you like to have it encapsulated for your consumption? Encapsulation services cost around $300 for about 150 capsules.
In Singapore, placentophagy is fairly common as the dried placenta is believed to be restorative).
2. Cutting of baby’s cord.
When should they cut the cord? Who will cut the baby’s cord? Do you consent to umbilical cord clamping prior to baby establishing respiration?
Do you intend to cord blood bank? (Your baby’s umbilical cord blood is a precious source of stem cells that can potentially save lives. Do you want to donate it to a public cord bank or pay to have it privately banked in case you need it? Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s something worth looking into).
3. Do you have any special wishes for the first moments after your baby is born?
Do you want your baby cleaned before he is given to you or do you want him to be put into your arms immediately? Would you like skin-to-skin contact?
Do you want to be left alone with your baby and your partner for a few minutes immediately after the birth?
4. What are your desires with regard to breastfeeding?
Evidence suggests that the best time to begin breastfeeding is within 30 to 60 minutes after birth when the baby is most alert. WHO recommends that mothers exclusively breastfeed their baby for six months after giving birth.
Whether you’re making a birth plan for home birth, or a birth plan for VBAC, you should not forget to note these afterbirth preferences.
Additional Tips For Writing A Birth Plan
No one is expecting you to have the perfect grammar in writing your birth plan. However, it would be great if you can express what you want clearly and straight to the point. Here are some pointers that can help:
- Use short paragraphs, clear subheadings and bullet points where possible and avoid convoluted language.
- Discuss your birth plan draft with your doctor. These discussions will help you learn how compatible your wishes are with your doctor’s and hospital’s practices.
- Keep a positive tone about what you want and don’t want in your plan. Always remember to present your plan as a request rather than a demand.
- You should print out copies of your birth plan for your doctor, send one to the hospital, give one to your coach, or hubby and bring one with you on D-day.
What Your Birth Plan Needs To Factor In During The Pandemic
- Create your own supply kit that can be carried to the hospital and back that covers all the essentials during the pandemic. Your kit should include multiple face masks, a face shield, gloves, and a sanitiser aerosol spray and liquid respectively.
- The kit also needs to have a quick change of clothes, should the need be.
- Look at alternatives including labouring at home, should there be a spike in the number of cases that will increase the risk.
- Limit the number of visitors at the hospital or home to keep your baby and you free of possible contamination.
- Opt for home-delivery service for the initial weeks postpartum. This is right from ordering food to groceries, and medicines. You can also speak to your gynaecologist for conducting virtual consultations in the future unless it’s absolutely necessary to pay a visit to the hospital.
Is A Cord Bank Safe In The Post Pandemic Era?
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