Now that we’re coming to the end of my second pregnancy, I’ve obviously been thinking ahead towards the birth and how I would like things to go in an ideal world.  I know that many experience the most wonderful births and they have gone exactly as they had wished, and then there are others that aren’t any less beautiful, but perhaps not gone to plan and changes have had to be made for the safety of the mama and baby.   

I’m totally OK with having to go off plan, especially if it’s medically necessary.  Experience from my last labour has shown me first hand that things can change all of a sudden and it’s better to go in with some flexibility to mitigate any disappointment if things don’t end up going your way. 

Like last time I would like a natural birth (I hate that term, all births are natural, but you know what I mean!), however, if it came down to needing a c-section for the safety of my baby I wouldn’t protest and gladly go ahead with this option.  We were in the delivery suite last time, just me, my midwife and Alfie, and although we weren’t on the midwifery-led unit, it was all very lovely – well, as lovely as it can be while you’re pushing out a tiny human.  This time I plan on heading to the midwifery-led unit for a water birth. I had a couple of baths while labouring at home before heading to the hospital and found them so relaxing, so knew instantly that this was the best option for me this time if possible. 

One thing that I have noticed with this pregnancy is how relaxed I am. Last time I was so determined to get everything ready so early on.   However, this time around I’ve just been going with the flow, mainly because I’m more confident in the knowledge that whatever happens as long as our baby is strong and healthy that’s all that matters, making the nursery looking pretty and buying clothes can wait.  Although, my midwife has been pressing me for my birth preferences for weeks now and I thought writing a blog post about it would actually help get my butt in gear.  Plus, I’ve had a couple of questions about it so thought it would be easier to share it here.  It’s pretty much based on my last one with a few tweaks. 

First stage of labour

  • I would prefer to labour at home for as long as possible with no medical intervention. 

Second stage of labour

  • If possible I’d like to use the birthing pool. 
  • Ideally, I want to have an active labour and be able to walk and move around to allow gravity to do its work.
  • I want to handle the pain using natural methods such as breathing, massage, relaxation, birthing pool, but would like the option of gas and air.
  • Intermittent monitoring of the baby to allow me to move around as much as possible.
  • I’d like to try different positions to help me remain comfortable, particularly use of a pregnancy ball.
  • Natural methods to prevent tearing such as compresses, massage and breathing techniques. No episiotomy unless medically needed. 
  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth and postpone any procedures.
  • Wait for the cord to stop pulsating before clamping.

Third stage of labour

  • I would prefer the placenta to be born spontaneously without the use of pitocin, unless medically needed.

Similarly, like last time, I’m calling these my ‘Birth Preferences’ over birth plan because you can never plan the perfect birth.  With that it mind, since we live about 25 minutes from the hospital and second labours are supposed to be much speedier, I’m also getting mentally prepared for a home birth, just in case.  Evidence that you can’t plan for the perfect birth because literally, anything can happen. 

One thing that has come to my attention after speaking to my midwife is that the hospital is actually supports immediate skin-to-skin contact and delayed cord clamping, which I thought was really positive, but I’ve still included it just so they are aware. Also, last time, I didn’t do anything with my placenta. I know this can be a divisive topic, but I have been considering placenta encapsulation to support my recovery.   I would hate to think of all of those health benefits going to the incinerator, although I’m not 100% yet because it’s not exactly cheap, let’s be honest!

What went into your birth preferences?  If you have multiple children, are there somethings that you changed?

What are your thoughts on placenta encapsulation?