Individual Birth Pland No Longer Available With the NHS?

Visited my midwife this week and thought that we would be starting my birth plan soon. I actually thought that we would have started it before now - i'm 31 weeks. But this week she gave me a hand out with a list of classes and informed me that the NHS no longer do individual birth plans and that i need to attend a group class from the list? Any ideas when this come about? I was quite set back by it as I expected to be able to talk personally to my midwfe about something which is particularly personal to most women? Has anybody had a positive experience of these classes? Im a little wary about it and so dont know whether to even bother going? I dont think that my midwife has given me much information about options during labour etc i'm literally in there for ten minutes at a time then out, so is this what the classes would cover?

7 Replies

  • Do u mean ante natel classes? They have always been in groups. .. think u can pay privately maybe nct do them or did u mean birth plan? I've never discussed my birth plan til I've got in the labour Ward and the midwife has looked thru it and we have had a quick chat about it. .. have u not got a sheet in ur folder with birth plan on it? I've Just written go with the flow with pain relief and want delayed cord clamping and skin to skin... to be honest with u labour is so unpredictable so u have to go with the flow. .. and if u put too much emphasis on it going the way u want it too and it doesn't u might feel disappointed... keep it basic and underline or highlight the things that are really important to u x

  • I attended a class at my local hospital which was run by a few midwives. We were split into two smaller groups of about three couples per midwife and we toured the birthing facilities then discussed signs of labour and stages of labour and then went through birth plans as a group. Covering things like giving baby the vitamin K injection and who we would like to cut the cord etc. We had the opportunity to hang back at the end and talk more privately with the midwives before we left. I thought it was very beneficial, some women asked questions in the groups which I wouldn't have thought about. Plus I got the afternoon off work for it! :-) But even though I'd filled it out, once I went into labour and was admitted to hospital, the midwife asked me all the same questions again anyway. I don't know if this was because it was a different hospital though, but I'm glad she did because a few days before going into labour I read about delayed cord clamping but hadn't talked it through with a midwife yet so she was able to talk to me about that.

    You may as well go if it doesn't cause you any inconvenience, it can't hurt. x

  • There is a birth planning tool on the NHS choices website where you can complete a form and print it

    Realistically though it should be called 'birth preferences form' as sometimes plans can change for very good reason at short notice during labour and birth, like Babymother said you may need to be flexible and go with the flow :)

  • Thanks :-)

    Definitely mean birth plan. Just seemed strange as four weeks ago when I went I had a different midwife and she said 'we'll start your birth plan soon' and then last week when I went my usual midwife gave me the leaflet about attending classes and said they no longer do them individually. Yes there's a sheet in the folder to write on, again I wasn't sure if this was just for their use or not. I was thinking of typing my own out (the hypnobirthing book I'm reading says to hand them out to medical staff etc) but I didn't want to seem like I was being fussy or particular or out of the ordinary do you know what I mean? And haha afternoon off work is always a plus! The tour sounds great, perhaps a bit intimidating doing it alone but I'm sure it'll be ok and yup like you say people may raise points that I haven't thought about. Thank you!

  • I wrote mine in my folder but I left mine very flexible as had no idea what to expect from labour, so made sure I didn't write so much detail that it may restrict my choices on the day. Anything specific i needed explaining to me, i asked my midwife about. Generally i did the plan on my own. Also, they will ask you again of your preferences on the day as they know people may change their minds. For big things like use of the birth pool, make sure you say that straighy away so they can check availability for you. However, my experience ended up meaning I didn't have 1 thing that I had wanted in my birth plan anyway, which shows labour and birth is such an unpredictable thing. :-)

  • I am a bit worried about the implication of what your midwife says. There are a number of facets to what you have talked about. Firstly the antenatal education side of things - it might be that in your area the midwife used to do more of this on a one to one basis and now they do it more through classes. That's fine but it certainly shouldn't mean that your midwife is unavailable for you to talk about your personal preferences - that is something she should do and if she doesn't it probably reflects a level of work which is too high for her to provide good care - the results of women not being given time to raise concerns with their midwife at antenatal appointments are potentially dangerous if the concern is something which may impact on her or her babies health. Quite aside from that, as you are saying the anxiety raised in women who don't have the opportunity to discuss the birth outside of a class (and talking to a group of new people is not something everyone can easily do) is really unhelpful. If your midwife is saying that you 'can't' write a birth plan then she is plain wrong. You have the right to make choices about all aspects of your birth and no-one can take that from you. As people have said there are lots of resources online to help you do that and it is good to keep an open mind and remember that there are plans that you may want or need to change under special circumstances. Getting your own midwife to 'ok' your birth plan can be nice if you have a personal connection with her but is not really any practical use unless she will be at the birth, which in the vast majority of cases she wont. So I wouldn't worry about that particular midwife agreeing it, you may find that the antenatal teacher or midwife at the classes will give you some input if you ask them to look at your birth plan with you. Some midwives do have a bit of a downer on the idea of a 'birth plan' because they feel that it encourages women to see birth as a series of rigid events which can be decided about beforehand and it is generally a more fluid thing which is very different for everyone - however preparing a plan which is about your preferences regarding things like pain relief, using a birth pool, holding your baby skin to skin etc can be really helpful for your midwife at the birth. To me it seems a bit patronizing to say 'don't prepare one because you may not get what you want' - we are all grown ups! Besides which there is also the question of whether it has to do with 'if you don't prepare one we can just do what we usually do and our lives are easier...' I should emphasize I don't think most midwives are really like that but the pressures on them to be cost effective and efficient are sometimes so great that they lose sight of what it is really all about. Rant over.

  • I will be honest I spoke to my midwife about the plan at about week 35...I was open to what wud happen and she just said either write it down or if u hav preference about what you would ideally like then discuss with ur birthing partner as they wont b high on drugs like u cud b..I dont think a plan is worth the paper its written on but thts my opinion. I gave birth on Tuesday i quite fancied a water birth but didnt set my heart on it but I managed to b in the pool till 5 mins b4 giving birth but as my little boy pooed whilst inside me so I had to get out the pool and when he was born my boyfriend couldn't cut the cord and it had to be done straight away as he had swallowed some of the poo so had to hav it sucked out of him...i didnt get skin to skin straight away as had to b sewn up from tearing so if I had had my heart set on a water birth with dcc I wud of been devastated but the fact all u care about tht ur baby is safe and well in hindsight a plan goes out the window. Just be open to whatever may be thrown at u

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