woman writing in her pregnancy calendar

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:

Before Labour

before labour

  1. Would you like to hire a doula? A doula is someone who's trained as a labour companion, though not to replace your doctor or midwife. She can provide an additional source of support during your childbirth, and can also give you advice on relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and labour positions. Even after delivery, she may assist you in your postnatal care and breastfeeding.

Related: Labour and Delivery — What to Expect

During Labour

during labour

  1. Do you prefer to move about or lie down during labour?

  2. Do you prefer to have pain relief or to go without?

  3. Do you have any preferences for which pain medications to have?

  4. Do you have any preferences for a certain position to give birth, such as semi-sitting, standing, kneeling or lying down?

  5. If you need a Caesarean section, do you have any special requests?

  6. Do you prefer to wear your own clothes?

  7. Do you prefer to have some drinks and snacks during labour?

  8. Do you prefer to listen to music? If so, what music?

  9. Who do you prefer to be present at the childbirth?

Related:  Monitoring the Baby During Labour

After Delivery

after delivery

  1. Would you like your partner to cut the umbilical cord?

  2. Would you like to claim the placenta after childbirth?

  3. Would you like to store the cord blood?

  4. Would you like to hold onto the baby immediately after childbirth?

  5. Would you like to breastfeed immediately after childbirth?

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  • Sources:

    The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

    Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore