“Should I make a birth plan?” This is a question we get a lot in our Doula agency.
Like everything mommy related, there is a Yes camp and a No camp.
- YES! These are usually the people who are very organized and need a plan, because they like to plan everything. They will have their Doula hired right away and know exactly how they want things to be.
- NO! These are the people who don’t feel it’s necessary to have a birth plan because they know for the most part that birth probably won’t go the way they plan it.
What do you think?
Can we really plan how birth will unfold?
Doctors, caregivers, hospitals and birthing centres really like to think so. They’ve put protocols and rules in place, and view the birth plan as a formula; A + B = C. Unfortunately this doesn’t leave room for all the different variables!
In my experience, every birth unfolds quite differently – if we let it. We don’t know how long it will take for the baby to come, it can be very quick, or it can be a very long process. Some women will prefer to not have any medication and some will. There are so many variables that it can’t be just A + B = C. Birth is just not like that.
What is a birth plan?
I actually like to call it Birth Wishes instead, and I think taking the time to create one is a great exercise to do when you’re pregnant. It’s a process I suggest you do with your partner and/or the support person who will be with you so that you are all on the same page when it comes to what YOU want
It’s all about knowing your options. If you’ve worked with me before or worked with some of our team members, you know that we’re all about options.
If you don’t know what your options are, you don’t know what to ask for and you might regret your decisions later on.
Things to start thinking and asking about would be:
- The type of environment you would love to give birth in
- The culture and policies of the hospital or place of birth
- Who your team members will be (Spouse, Doctors, Doulas, caregivers, family members, etc.)
- Who you would like in the room with you
- Who you do not want in the room with you
- What birthing tools are available (bathtub, massage chair, etc.)
- Your list of expectations of your partner and support team during birth
- Interventions you want to avoid, if possible, during labour and delivery, as well as in postpartum
Knowledge is power! Look at all of your options and see what resonates with you. What kind of birth are you dreaming of and hoping for? There is nothing wrong with dreaming about your ideal birth and it’s important for your support team, your spouse and your caregivers to know your wishes.
But when you don’t know what’s available to you, you don’t know what to say yes or no to.
For example, most people think the only choice they have for pain management is an epidural. That’s not true! There are many tools. There’s laughing gas, massage, hip squeezes, TENS machines, essential oils, and one of my favourites, the bath, just to name a few.
Do know that the most basic tools should be available to you, so I suggest you make sure that your choice of birth place has some tools to offer you (my fave is the bath!).
What’s most important is actually going through the process of creating your plan, allowing yourself to dream of your ideal birth.
Top Tips for Creating your Birth Wishes.
- Keep it short: try to keep it to one page.
- Have your introduction at the top, including your names, your support team’s names, any allergies you have and all your basic information.
- Include your top three wishes that would love to see happen (for example, breastfeeding, skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, etc.)
My most important tip might come as a surprise…LET IT GO!
Seriously, I’m going to ask you to let it go. Let the plan go, send it out to the Universe and know that your birth plan and your birth actually will unfold as it will. But because you have the knowledge at each turning point, you will always be able to make the right decisions for you and your family.
You’ve got this!
If you have questions about birth plans, or if you’d like a sample birth plan, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to continue your birth education with some amazing birthing classes, we have a great new video series that you can watch when you want and where you want! You can watch the first four lessons for FREE here.
If you’d like to know more about the support we can provide, join our team at one of our monthly Open Houses every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. EST. You can check out our website www.rockthecradle.ca for more information.
Here’s to a beautiful and positive birth,
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