1. Birthing aids
If you’d like to use mats, balls, beanbags and the like during labour, check if these are available at the hospital you plan to deliver in, or if you’re able to bring them with you into the delivery suite. Make a note of what you hope to use.
2. Added extras
From birthing pools to VIP recovery suites, many hospitals in Dubai offer special facilities to make the most of. Outline those that pique your interest on your plan.
3. Feeding your baby
Make sure you outline your preferences for feeding your baby, whether you are set on exclusive breastfeeding or don’t mind topping up with formula during those first nights so you can get some rest.
In some instances, such as if you have had a C-section in the past, you may need to be monitored throughout labour. Otherwise, you can request to be monitored minimally, as long as this is a safe choice for you and your baby. This way you’ll have the flexibility to move around the room, which can be useful for coping with contractions.
5. Pain relief
While its worth outlining what type of pain relief you are open to trying, it is important to be flexible about what you may need. A statement such as, “I want to try to manage with gas and air but would like the option of an epidural” leaves it open for discussion.
6. Skin-to-skin contact
Numerous studies have shown the amazing benefits of immediate skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, from stabilising breathing to helping to establish breastfeeding. If you feel strongly about this then add it to the plan – you can even request for APGAR tests (the assessment of your newborn’s health) to be conducted while the baby is on the mother’s chest.
7. Delivering the placenta
After the birth, syntocinon (an injection that contains oxytocin) can be offered to the mother to help separate the placenta from the womb and be pushed out, as well as to guard against heavy bleeding. This isn’t necessary in all instances – more so if you’ve had an epidural – so if you prefer not to have the additional hormone injection when it’s not totally necessary then make a note of this.
8. Vitamin K for your baby
For newborns, a vitamin K supplement is routinely advised to guard against Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) – a rare but serious disease. You can decline if you wish, however, or ask for it to be given orally rather than via an injection.
9. Having an episiotomy
Never a popular choice, but sometimes necessary. Consider adding a statement such as: “I do not want an episiotomy, but am willing to discuss its necessity should the occasion arise”.
10. Special requirements
Make sure to add a note of any other specific requirements, such as nursing staff who speak your first language, or whether you would like certain religious customs to be observed where possible.