Have you ever wondered why you would bother with a birth plan, only to see it thrown out the window during labour or totally ignored by your support people? Surely writing a birth plan is only setting you up for disappointment?
If a birth plan is something like “I would like a natural birth, unless intervention is deemed necessary “, then you would be right in wondering why you would bother. This vague and uncommitted ‘plan’ misses the point and purpose of a birth plan.
An informed birth plan is written during your rational stage of pregnancy, when you have time to consider your options and weigh up the risks and benefits.
For example: before you get to the ‘fed up’ stage of pregnancy, you will have made your decision about induction options.
If you have a healthy pregnancy, perhaps you will see no reason to interfere at all, but if you go past your ‘due date’, you may experience pressure to induce. Understanding the various options you may be offered and writing it in a birth plan will help you and your supporters adhere to your rational wishes.
For example: you have a menstrual-based due date that is a week after your scan-determined date (or vice versa). Which date is best? What will you do if you go 10 days over the earlier date?
During labour your plan can outline the techniques you intend to use, and this allows your support people to follow this guide, rather than interrupting you to ask questions and ‘just check’. Your plan makes it clear what you want.
Your specific birth wishes will be included, these might be regarding positions, water birth, assisted ‘pushing’, delayed cord clamping (or even lotus birth), baby to chest, baby-led attachment for breastfeeding.
Post birth, your options include ‘standard procedures’ which you have considered well before the birth day. For example, you can include your wishes for vitamin K, Hep B Vaccination and the heel prick test. You can have your ‘feeding’ wishes detailed.
If during pregnancy you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, or your baby is diagnosed with a condition, your plan will detail your evidence based decisions related to your personal situation.
Your birth plan is your reminder during the very intense and rather irrational emotions you may experience during labour.
BY MAKING YOUR DECISIONS BEFORE THE BIRTH DAY,YOU GIVE YOURSELF A MAP. YOUR BIRTH PLAN WILL KEEP YOU AND YOUR SUPPORTERS CENTRED.
In short, your birth plan reflects your preparation. It will have a contingency plan. Not because you expect things to ‘go bad’, or because it is even likely too. The contingency is your insurance, your back up, your ‘just in case’. It protects you from on the spot decisions. It means you are more likely to recognise and understand any deviations from your ideal, and respond calmly and appropriately.
Ultimately it is about being Informed. Don’t leave things to chance: be prepared.
THE BIRTH MAP: boldly going where no birth plan has gone before is your personal and informed birth planning guide, helping you to find Your Way. Knowing your options helps you to find your safest option, and this will vary depending on your personal circumstances. We all find our comfort zone varies, and being able to relax make birth safer, with much better outcomes. Get off the conveyorbelt – and Own Your Birth. Knowledge IS power.
Find out more at www.bellabirth.org and join the revolution! (it is free!)