One of the first things you may hear as an expectant Mother is to start thinking about your birth plan. Of course we all have an ideal situation in our minds of how we would like the birth of our children to go, but is it really possible to “plan”?
As a Midwife for over 18 years I have spent countless hours with laboring women in every different situation imaginable, and the one constant is, most births don’t go according to “plan”.
Traditionally birth plans were meant to be a tool to help expectant Mothers communicate their laboring and birth preferences to her medical team. Her hopes and wishes, concerns or problems. By talking about this upfront both parties would at least know the expectations going into labor.
However over the years the birth plan has become more of a list of rigid expectations, and must haves.
The truth is birth is a miraculous process that also involves a lot of unknowns and mystery. The human body is a constant, ever changing entity that can surprise us all at the best of times, especially during labour and birth.
So are birth plans useful? Should we be relying on them?
I say no. Rigid birth plans almost always take an unexpected turn and as a result leave the expectant Mother feeling like she’s failed, the team has failed and her birth was not the special moment it should have been.
So do you go in blind? No.
A healthier approach would be to “prepare” for your birth. Communicate your plans, hope and concerns to your team; but also draw on their experience and advice and be prepared and informed on what unexpected situations may arise. At the end of the day you want to be happy with the way your birthing experience goes, not disappointed that it didn’t work out according to your plan.
So ditch the plan and start preparing.
Sit down with your Midwife or Doctor and ask about the things you can control, predict or are certain may arise. These questions and more, are ones that you can expect a definite answer to, and will help you prepare for your day. Dealing with the things you can control and taking care of those decisions before will allow you the freedom to focus on your birth and any other issues that arise.
As we all know the best-laid plans never pan out. So give yourself a break, control what you can control, and let nature take it’s course.
Prepare for birth, don’t try to plan it.
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