I've met moms with no birth plan and I've met moms with binders of birth plans. I've met moms with a few simple birth requests and moms that have a few pages worth of birth requests. I've met moms that want to "go with the flow" and moms that urge the hospital staff to not steer away from their birth plans at all. So what is all the fuss about birth plans and should you have one or not? Will the staff read them or not?
A birth plan is just that... a plan. In any birth related situation it's key to remember that whether you are a first time mother or a veteran warrior mama, birth can go anyway it chooses to. By creating a birth plan, you are planning your perfect birth but you are also planning for an unforeseen future. Remembering that this plan is simply a "plan" and not some kind of commandment set in stone, you should be subconsciously reminding yourself that if this plan were to not happen due to some unforeseen emergency your medical staff that you have carefully chosen will take care of you and your wishes to the best of their abilities.
How well do you know your medical team? With most all pregnancies, no matter the care provider path you have chosen, you will see your birth team several times throughout various prenatal appointments. You will discuss your hopes and dreams of birth with them and in return they will reassure you of their strengths and will let you know if any of your hopes and dreams for birth are not part of their policies. In some cases, you may not meet with the same care provider at each appointment and you certainly won't meet the labor and delivery nurses that will be there taking care of you on your on your big day. So it's safe to say that in most situations there will at some point be someone in your birthing room that you have mever met or barely know and they you. So how could they possibly get to know you and your hopes and dreams quickly and easily? Hello birth plan.
"This is my 3rd homebirth. My other births have been quick and easy. I don't need a printed birth plan." This is a completely warranted statement. An experienced birther knows what to expect based on her other births and her birth partner might equally know what to expect based on those other births. But, what if the midwife is sick and calls in another midwife? What if her birth assistant is new? These are all things that we hope & pray never happen (other than the newbie birthing assistant ;) we all have to start somewhere). We don't always like to think about the "what ifs" during pregnancy and maybe we shouldn't. By having a plan for these situations, new team members could quickly assess your birth desires and easily step in place to focus on mother and baby.
"Who's going to actually take the time to read my plan if I make one?" Don't think of your birth plan as an essay! Think of it as another beautiful, important piece of your pregnancy puzzle. The best birth plans are ones that get quick and to the point on one page so that your birth team can quickly assess it and move on. I'm not saying your team is too busy! I'm saying give your team the opportunity to quickly learn your plan so they can quickly get to helping you. You can type up a few important things for before, during and after. MamaNatural.com has a really awesome icon birth plan! Use special colors or bold certain key points. Make it yours!
"I just want to go with the flow. I don't really have a plan." That's ok! If your plan is no plan then go with it! Just remember that you may be asked questions during labor and afterwards when you may not want to be asked questions. Whether you have a plan or not, the key is being prepared in whatever way would help you have the birth experience you desire.
I'd love to hear from you! Did you have a birth plan? Did you not have a birth plan? What were key factors in your decision to have or not have a birth plan? If you had one how did you make it? Afterwards, were you glad you had one or didn't have one?
*All images in this post are property of Itur Ad Astra Birth Services and the clients involved in these particular births. Images have been posted with permission of the clients as birth is a sacred event and should only be shared by those the parents wish to share it with.
If you are interested in inquiring more about my services, please contact me to set up a FREE initial consultation so we can get to know each other better and see how I can support you. Khristina Helmich, email@example.com