Childbirth is a personal experience, which is why you may want to draw up a birth plan — but what is a birth plan, exactly?
By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr TAN Shu Qi
Associate Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital
Childbirth is a very special and personal experience and everyone has different expectations of how it will be. For example, some women may want to do without pain relief during childbirth; others may want to blast their favourite music playlist in the delivery suite. Everyone has different ways to welcome their babies into the world.
At week 31, it's a good idea to draw up a birth plan. However, a birth plan is not a contract, nor is it compulsory. It's a way to communicate your wishes to those who will be directly or indirectly taking care of your childbirth, such as your doctor and the midwife. Take some time to think about what's important to you and once you've come up with a birth plan, go through it with your doctor, just in case there are any safety or health issues to consider. Don't worry; your doctor can also help guide you along.
Here's a checklist of items to think about:
Related: Labour and Delivery — What to Expect
Do you prefer to move about or lie down during labour?
Do you prefer to have pain relief or to go without?
Do you have any preferences for which pain medications to have?
Do you have any preferences for a certain position to give birth, such as semi-sitting, standing, kneeling or lying down?
If you need a Caesarean section, do you have any special requests?
Do you prefer to wear your own clothes?
Do you prefer to have some drinks and snacks during labour?
Do you prefer to listen to music? If so, what music?
Who do you prefer to be present at the childbirth?
Monitoring the Baby During Labour
Would you like your partner to cut the umbilical cord?
Would you like to claim the placenta after childbirth?
Would you like to store the cord blood?
Would you like to hold onto the baby immediately after childbirth?
Would you like to breastfeed immediately after childbirth?
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Read these next
The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific
Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore
This article was last reviewed on
15 Sep 2023
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