Creating a birth preference document is an important step in preparing for childbirth, as it allows you to communicate your wishes and expectations with your healthcare team. However, it's essential to recognise that unexpected situations may arise, and flexibility is key. To help minimise the risk of feeling that your preferences are being sabotaged, consider the following tips:
Take childbirth education classes to understand the birthing process, interventions, and possible complications. Choice wisely when it comes to booking a course, the right teacher and content can make all the difference. Someone from a medical background may be too biased one way and someone who doesn't attend births may be out of touch with what you can expect. Consider a course run by a doula. They have first hand experience of your local maternity services and their core belief is to always provide all the options available.
Communicate Early and Clearly:
Discuss your preferences with your healthcare provider during antenatal visits.
Clearly express your preferences, but also be open to discussions about potential changes if necessary.
Recognise that unexpected situations may arise during childbirth.
Consider including alternative preferences
Include a Supportive Birth Partner/s:
Choose a birth partner who is knowledgeable about your preferences and can advocate for you during labour.
Ensure your birth partner is aware of your wishes and can communicate effectively with the healthcare team.
Consider hiring a doula who can provide emotional and practical support for both you and your partner. They can provide advocacy and assistance in communicating with your healthcare team.
Know Your Rights:
Familiarise yourself with your legal rights during childbirth, and be aware of any guidelines that may impact on your preferences.
Understand that you have the right to decline interventions, and you can ask for explanations as to why an intervention is being suggested.
If you are considering birthing outside of the guidelines do have a look at https://www.birthrights.org.uk
Create a Collaborative Atmosphere:
Approach discussions with your healthcare team collaboratively, emphasising shared decision-making.
Foster an open dialogue with your healthcare providers to address concerns or questions.
Creating the document:
When it comes to putting your preferences down on paper there are some beautiful template designs on sites such as pinterest however be mindful of who needs to read it. The midwife caring for you on the day will use this document to quickly gain an understanding of your preferences. Its worth remembering especially in the UK you are unlikely have ever meet this midwife before so the sooner she can get an understanding of your wishes the sooner she can fully support you to the best of her ability so be mindful to keep the document user friendly. Keep it clear and concise, consider putting things in categories such as labour, pain relief, third stage, after baby is born, interventions, etc.
What is important is not necessarily achieving all of your preferences it is being able to reflect back on your birth and be able to say everything that took place during the birth of your baby was for the right reasons and you felt part of the decision making.