So, it’s time to write your birth plan. But with so many options, and so many unknowables, just how are you supposed to know what to include?
Does the idea of music, aromatherapy candles and a birthing pool appeal, or are you one of those practical ‘just get it out quickly and safely, with whatever drugs we need’ types? Perhaps you are totally in denial like Alison and Ben from the hilariously funny 2007 film Knocked Up...
Of course the one person it’s impossible to discuss your plans with is the baby who’s arrival you’re trying to mastermind and they could have a completely different agenda to you. This means that the super organised may have to learn to relax a little and go with the flow. And while hippy chicks who think whatever will be, will be, have probably got the right idea we’d still recommend they meditate on the subject for a few moments. Here are just a few birth plan pointers to help get you started.
Arm yourself with information on every childbirth scenario and don’t worry if it feels like nothing is going in, because it is.
A major advantage of being the one pushing the baby out of your lower half is that you don’t have to see what’s going on down at the sharp end. So if there’s any chance that it’ll freak you out, just skip all the live birth DVDs.
Your biggest decision – where to have the baby. At home? In a birthing centre with a pool? In hospital? To weigh up all the pros and cons, take a look at nhs.uk/planners/pregnancycareplanner/pages/birthoptions.aspx
Try not to give birth in an art gallery (even if you are an exhibitionist); at the supermarket (or at least, if you do, try to make it to the starchy snacks aisle); at your mother-in-law’s house (you won’t see your baby for hours, and she’ll probably have named it by
When it comes to your birthing partner, choose wisely. Who do you trust – your partner/mum/sister/best friend? Or you could consider adding a professional to your support team (see doula.org.uk).
Anyone who’s prone to fainting, or likely to say ‘ouch’ if you squeeze their hand during a contraction.
Even if you’ve been told birth plans are pointless because labour is never predictable, write one anyway – it’ll help
If there are certain things you definitely don’t want (for example, your partner to post a photo of you on Facebook 25 seconds after giving birth, all sweaty and with one boob poking out), make your wishes clear, on a daily basis, from here on in. Oh, and if you don’t want a bunch of strangers mithering about discussing your foo-foo, you are within your rights to enforce a no-student rule!Pack smart
Don’t forget your maternity notes and birth plan; coins for the hospital car park (you don’t want to be left panting in the car while hubby tries to find change for a tenner); and, very importantly, lovely new slippers that do not require any bending to get into. It’s essential you have a baby car seat, too, or they won’t let you take your tot home.
It’s amazing how many bits and pieces you need for a new baby, so invest in a hospital bag, the bigger the better, with lots of pockets and compartments, just for the baby’s things. Check out the sunny Koo-di maternity/weekender bag that’ll be great for trips away too.Splash out
If your friends haven’t armed you with a Bloom and Blossom Mother to Be Gift Set (complete with luxury bed socks), buy one yourself. Oh, and a new Chanel lipstick. Really, you have just grown a new human being, you are entitled.
Don’t spend loads on post-pregnancy underwear yet: buy some big, cheap knickers for the hospital and just get the one nursing bra for now. Then you can be re-fitted once you’ve seen just how gargantuan those gazongas will get.Borrow
If you want to use a birthing ball and/or Tens machine, ask a mummy friend if you can borrow theirs – it’s just for a day or two and will save you a pretty penny. Or consider hiring one.
Lansinoh nipple cream; there’s something not quite right about a half-used tube.Turn it up
A recent study showed that music can reduce pain in the early stages of labour, woo-hoo! So start planning your playlist…
…but do make it long and varied – you might lose your sense of humour if Donna Summer’s I’m Coming Out is playing on a loop when your baby, quite clearly, is not.
Feed your brain
Early labour can seem endless, so bring some light reading – Gurgle, Winnie the Pooh, The Baby Diaries. Or how about Kirstie Allsopp’s Craft – because you’ll have sooo much time for making bunting and jam when the baby is born. Ha ha.
Don't fry it
Trust us, you cannot do a crossword between contractions. Or sudoku.
The mum who wants to inflict her birthing horror story (fingers in ears, la la la!).
The mum who tells you the day you give birth will be the most amazing day of your life. It will, so try to focus on the wonderful part – meeting your baby.
Look at our guides section on Writing your birth plan for more tips and advice
Breathe to the beat
Apple iPod classic
New tube of Lasinoh Nipple Cream
Nursing T-shirt bra
Koo-Di maternity/weekender bag
Keep it simple
Maybe not the ideal read for the labour ward
Craft, by Kirsty Allsop (Hodder & Stoughton)
Mother to Be gift set