Birth Plans - Are they necessary?

A birth plan is a very personal thing - for some people it's essential; for others, not so much. 

At Gold Coast Private Maternity, our goal is to support every mother in her journey and to help her achieve the birth she wants. We will listen to and respect your philosophy and your wishes, so long as you and your baby are safe.

What is important to remember is that despite everyone's best efforts, in birth as in life, plans can change.

We spoke to Gold Coast Private Maternity Nurse Unit Manager Judy Ross who recommends creating 'birth preferences'.

Judy says this way, you can inform her team of midwives of what you would like to happen in an ideal situation. The team works to the best of its ability to make that happen, but if for medical or unforeseen reasons things need to be flexible, there is room for that too.

Here’s how Judy suggests developing your birth preferences...


Who needs birth preferences?

Some mothers or couples have a very clear vision of how they want to experience birth; others are happy to 'go with the flow' and see how their body is feeling on the day.

If you are the latter, it is not as important to make your birth preferences known beforehand.

However, if you feel strongly about certain things and would like to try for a birth you've envisioned, it is best to write this down and give it to your obstetrician and hospital team so that we are all working towards the same goals.


What to include in your preferences

Pain Medication

Perhaps the most important thing to include in your preferences is what pain medication you would, or wouldn't, like to take.

Some mothers plan on having a medication-free birth, however, in the throes of labour, her feelings towards this may change.

As your midwifery team, it is important for us to know how strongly you feel about the use of pain medication, and whether or not you'd like us to offer you any.

Talking to your birthing partner about this is crucial, because ultimately it will be up to him to negotiate your preferences with you as labour progresses - your midwifery team is here to support the birthing mother in her requests.

Atmosphere and Mood

Some mothers prefer lights and loud music - a bit like when you're running on a treadmill, to keep up the energy and boost the mood; others prefer a quiet, dim-lit room with little interruptions of soft music.  You can include this in your preferences so we can make the birthing suite your sanctuary.

Start to Labour

Let your obstetrician know how long past your due date you are prepared to wait for your labour to start naturally, unless there is a medical reason.

Fetal Monitoring

Gold Coast Private has some of the most advanced fetal monitoring systems that monitor baby's heart rate and send notifications of the progression of labour to your obstetrician and midwifery team. 

You can request this be done manually if you'd prefer, and if there are no medical risks associated with doing so.

Vaginal Exams

Vaginal exams are undertaken to check progression of labour and to see how far the cervix has opened.

These are performed by a skilled midwife at intervals, however if you'd prefer to have these less often, or would prefer not to hear how dilated you are, let us know.


This procedure is not common practice at Gold Coast Private Hospital, but if you have a strong preference not to have one, let us know as in rare cases, it may be your obstetrician's preferred method, unless otherwise informed.

Placenta Birth

Would you like the option of assisted placenta birth; or would you prefer to birth it naturally?

We also need to know if you would to keep the placenta.

Delayed Cord Clamping

Gold Coast Private practices delayed cord clamping as standard.

Our general process is to wait until the cord stops pulsing - usually around one minute, before clamping and cutting the cord. 

However, some mothers’ prefer to keep the baby attached to the placenta for longer. If this is your preference, let us know and we will endeavour to do so while safe.

Self-Attachment, Bonding and Bathing

We understand the importance of the special period directly after birth and we give our families the time and space to bond with their baby - including breastfeeding by self-attachment.

We also delay the bathing of babies to allow time for them to soak up the beneficial elements of vernix (the white coating most babies are born with). 

We wait 24 hours as standard, but you're welcome to delay bathing for as long as you like, provided there are no medical risks.


Caesarean Birth Preferences

Birth preferences can also be created for a caesarean birth - whether it is elective or emergency. 

These preferences are similar to the above, but you may also want to include what music you'd like played and whether you'd like the screen lowered at the time of birth.

If you'd like to work with one of our midwives to create your birth preferences, your 20-week appointment is a good time to do so; otherwise you can contact us any time on 07 5530 0726.

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