Some believe that planning for birth isn’t necessary, because many births do not turn out the way you may have planned. Why would you have a birth plan then?
A birth plan is a detailed document outlining you and your partner or husband’s preferences on how you would like your pregnancy and birth to be handled by caregivers and how you would like your newborn to be cared for.
“Your birth plan is the most important and crucial piece of information to prepare you for a positive childbirth experience and to protect your philosophy of birth and medical preferences.”
Using a birth plan requires you to educate yourself on the birth process and the procedures you may encounter at the hospital, birth centre, or home birth. You cannot make decisions about procedures and interventions without knowing the risks and benefits of it. Educating yourself reduces fear about the birth process. You wouldn’t embark on climbing Mount Everest without preparing for it, by having a good support team with you, would you? This is the same with all important life decisions.
There is often an ‘information gap’ between doctors and their patients, which cause women to feel that they are at the mercy of their caregivers and must follow orders based on fear of maternal or infant harm. Instead, we ought to shift this mindset in pregnancy and childbirth so that women and their partners take a proactive role in their birth experience, thereby empowering families. While emergencies do occur with devastating consequences for mother, baby or both, a mother and her partner can still request procedures be performed in a way that preserves her integrity and dignity of her experience.
Remember that you have a choice about every aspect of what happens to your body, your environment and your child during childbirth. Many clinical studies show that when mothers have a positive view of their birth experience they have fewer instances of postpartum depression, more success in breastfeeding and maternal bonding.
Having a birth plan is an important tool to bridge this ‘information gap’. While you may know what kind of birthing experience you want, it is important that all parties are fully aware, to ensure that your preferences are acknowledged and becomes a shared goal to work towards. It is also an ideal time to discuss concerns and potential risks.
The good news is, we’ve already done most of the work for you. My Holistic Birthing Passage is a detailed birth plan booklet, which takes you from the early stages of labour, pain management techniques, natural and medical induction options, through to newborn procedures and postpartum care, not forgetting any cultural practices which your caregivers need to be made aware of. There is also a section on gentle caesareans and multiple pregnancies. Just circle your birth wishes and make extra notes in the space provided.
As you prepare your birth plan, keep in mind that things don’t always go as planned. While you ultimately have a right to make decisions regarding every aspect of your birth, do remember that your healthcare provider, hospital or birth centre have experience and expertise that is to be respected. Birth plans are flexible while you still maintain ownership of the experience. By being aware and understanding all the options, you can still turn your birth experience into a positive one.
I’m committed to getting you the tools and resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth. With every purchase of a birth plan, I offer a free birth plan consultation.
Happy birth planning