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Is a birth plan a good idea?
Yes. Hardly any midwife or doctor objects to a birth plan. It is meant to be a means of communication between yourself and the care-givers (midwives/doctors). This actually assists them to give you individualized and hence most satisfactory care. Take your time to gather your thoughts and prepare the plan. Discuss it with your midwife, who may be able to give you useful advice on your plan.
Be open-minded and make allowances in your plan. Avoid things like "I don't want such and such under any circumstance". This creates an unnecessary sense of siege and there are better ways of presenting your dislikes.
A birth plan gives you peace of mind that you won't be asked to make difficult decisions while you are already in a state of distress, as all common possible scenarios are covered in advance. It also allows a care-giver who is unfamiliar (which is a possibility) to know your wishes and therefore assist you comfortably.
Will my midwife/doctor support me in having an Active Birth?
Most probably, yes. However the attitude towards Active Birth is variable. If your particular care-giver opposes your wish for an Active Birth, then they should give you a medical reason for their opposition.
Of course, if you are not satisfied, you are perfectly within your rights to demand a second opinion. If the opposition is based on personal preference rather than medical reasons, you can demand a different care-giver.
This sort of opposition is not, however, common. You can actually requests midwife who is experienced and supportive of Active Birth.
If you make all your plans in good time, you will have all the information you need and will avoid disappointment and frustration at labour onset.
Apart from your midwife, it may be important to establish whether your local hospital provides for women who choose an Active Birth (most do). You may then ask for hospital statistics on such things as natural birth, epidural, water birth, Active Birth etc. Seek the help of your midwife in interpreting the data. Remember, statistics represent both availability and demand.
What can I do to prepare for an Active Birth?
The Active Birth Centre offers weekly yoga classes for physical preparation and breathing exercises. There is a national network of teachers which can be accessed on the Internet or through the London centre.
Try attending these together with your partner, who should be your birth partner as well. The classes will also give information on the physiology of labour and birth and how Active Birth complements this. Information is also given on various potential interventions and what they entail.
A birth plan is important so take time to prepare one.
Make time to familiarise yourself with the intended place of birth, meet the midwives and generally satisfy yourself that you are comfortable and confident with the whole arrangement. If you are not, then you may have to seriously consider switching to another place. This is rarely necessary.