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Birth letter

A guide from Din Gravidcoach

Firstly, know that you matter. What you want matters.

You are important and your needs are important.

This is your body, and your birth. ”

 

Milli Hill

What will be will be

A birth plan, or a birth letter, can look in many different ways and fulfill several functions. There may be some resistance to the idea of a plan; "what will be, will be" we often hear about births. But having a plan does not mean that you are not open to different scenarios - just like with everything else in life, we are at this stage able to adapt to the conditions that arise, or deal with any disappointment that may arise when it does not happen as we imagined. Having a plan, a dream or a vision can instead strengthen the opportunities to get the experience we want:

 

Don´t be afraid to have a strong vision of what you want - with birth, as with other areas of your life, a strong vision can help you reach your goal …” (Hill 2019)

Also thinking through what you want if plan A is not possible, and what you need in this case, can facilitate the handling of other potential events. This guide is aimed at everyone. It is equally useful regardless of where you choose to give birth, whether you are planning for a vaginal or abdominal birth, whether you desire a physiological birth or want to give birth with all available medical pain relief. You have the right to give birth on your own terms. 

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Knowledge is power

Sitting down and formulating your thoughts, needs, expectations and any worries can in itself be a valuable preparation for birth. Asking yourself, or each other, certain questions can lead to important conversations and insights. Through the process, one can therefore gain knowledge about what is important to one, but also insight into what possibilities, choices and alternatives are de facto available. Sorting out what you can influence, and what you cannot influence, and based on this making conscious, informed choices, can create positive control and thus a sense of security. With this, you also claim, and take responsibility for, your upcoming birth. You move, in Milli Hills words, here from the passenger seat to the drivers seat; “…take charge, take control, and make conscious choices.” Preparing and planning for the time after birth can also be extremely valuable. Acquiring knowledge about, for example, breastfeeding or responsive bottle feeding can contribute to both safety and better conditions for the same.

The oxytocin flow

What makes you enjoy, relax and feel safe? Dr. Sarah Buckley has taught us what we need to help our birthing hormones: “The hormones involved with having a baby are the same hormones involved with making a baby, and we need the same conditions (you guessed it!)- private, safe, and unobserved!” The more oxytocin that is released in your body, the better the conditions for it to deliver your baby. Oxytocin is thus the same hormone that is secreted when, for example, pleasure, and therefore it can be a good idea to think about and write down things that you find pleasurable. It can be music, touch, warm water - or maybe your favorite candy? 

 

Creating pleasure; during labor, in labor or at rest, can have a great effect. Anything that increases the feeling of safety (and thus the oxytocin flow) is welcome and useful. Laughter, closeness, cozy lighting, a blanket that smells like home, rhythmic massage and eye contact are just a few examples. Feel free to write a list of 10 things that make you feel good, laugh or give you pleasure. This list will be valuable to look at, and use, during labor.

What do you wish they knew about you?

When you write a birth letter, you can think about what you would like the midwives to know about you or you? The better perception birth staff have about e.g. your needs, the easier it will be for them to meet you based on these. In a relationship; remember to include your partners needs; what she needs in her role, both as a parent-to-be and as a support person for the birth. The conditions for supporting the birth are optimized if you as a *partner feel safe - therefore make sure to find out what exactly you need for this. What role do you want in the room, who do you need support from (friend, doula, birth staff) - what do your wishes look like?

Template for writing your
birth letter

Do you want to take part in Din Gravidcoachs template for writing birth letters based on your needs and wishes?  

By following the guide above and our template, you will get help formulating a birth plan and writing a birth letter that really makes a difference.

Click on the link below to get access to the template. 

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