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Birth plans. Why bother?

Birth plans. Why bother? What’s the point when you cannot accurately predict nature? When you just want see what happens & go with the flow? When you don’t want any interventions &/or you’re not having any medical professionals being involved? It’s only a day or two of my life so it doesn’t really matter too much. Why bother …When plans never go to plan anyways, so what’s the point?…



The point is the PROCESS of making the plans. Plus of course, those written plans, at your birth team’s finger tips; easing communication and reducing distraction for the birthing person.



We make plans all the time in our daily lives and we change these plans in response to what we encounter & how we feel, same applies to birth plans. We are not rigidly hold to what we have written, we’re allowed to change our minds.



Creating written birth plans makes you do the research specific for your own unique preferences & circumstances. It makes you condense issues that you care about into their essence. The best plans can be a snapshot, as to who you are & what you want when it comes to your experience of birth. It makes you consider the sequence of the process of labour, or the build up to the end of your pregnancy (if you’re not going to go into labour), it helps you visualise or imagine with other senses, how you may feel and what you might respond well to & what you wish to avoid. Planning can help to educate you as to what choices you have available - many of which we often don’t know about until asked in the moment. Writing plans can help you to consider questions: e.g the benefits /disadvantages of having vaginal examinations, or your baby having a Vitamin K at all, or as a shot or oral drops… - without having to discover these matters and chat through them when in labour or you’ve just had your ba



If you’re planning a #freebirth or you’re having a #wildpregnancy - having written birth plans can be so helpful to anyone supporting you too, for example does your birth partner know about the third stage and how to support you? Do they know how to assess your blood loss and what they could do to assist you? If their mind goes blank a quick look at a good, clear plan can avoid them having to ask you too many questions. We know asking questions makes the neocortex (conscious thinking part of the brain) active & can interfere with the hormones balance for birthing babies & placentas. If a team can refer to a plan it reduces unnecessary & potentially distracting questions. Plans can be reassuring even when they might change.



Here are a few tips that many families I have worked with have appreciated: Make at least three plans, each plan only one A4 side. It’s not to say you cannot have longer plans for you & your support team but we’re talking a #birthplan to have with you through #labour & #birth Keep the plan keep the plan loosely chronological of the course of labouring to #thirdstage (birthing placenta) & the first hours directly after birthing. Include concisely your preferences & priorities for any comfort measures, anything you do or do not want to be offered to you, language to be used - who is to communicate with who, how you want the environment to be.



Write:



Plan A - your absolute dream plan - this could be for an elective #bellybirth #c-section or a #homebirth or any other kind of birth. It’s YOUR unique, ultimate most wonderful scenario.



Plan B - let’s say your plan A was a C-section, then Plan B might be ‘If I go into labour spontaneously before I can get my C-section’ If your Plan A was a #homebirth then Plan B might be, ‘If I decide something means I want to go to hospital to birth’



Plan C - this is often the C-section plan just cos ‘C’ is for caesarean, though we’ve mention how it may well be your Plan A. Researching caesarean birth and knowing you having many choices can be a powerful tool in knowing you are retaining much control and that’s not only get to know your making the best choices for you and your baby, but also it is protective against trauma.



Plan D - This birth plan can be for scenarios you might be wanting to completely avoid but that you feel are necessary to think about & plan for: like an in labour caesarean, or an instrumentally assisted birth, or perhaps an induction.



So much of whatever is in your Plan A can be transferred to B, C & D e.g. ‘Staff are NOT to chat near me, put any clothing on my baby or clean my baby.’ ‘No one to announce my baby’s sex.’ ‘No checks on my baby until we’ll after their first feeds.’ ‘I love to hear the radio station bla bla on in the background’



Postnatal Plan - writing one down antenatally can really help with recovery. If you like you can share with family and friends before birth too and they may well be better placed to support you well & on your terms. Examples of things to include may be: ‘I will not be having visitors for the first two weeks at least.’ ‘I will be staying in my bed/bedroom for the first week - I am not going to be getting dressed and will be doing #skintoskin’ ‘I would like a rota of friends and family to come and take our eldest children out once a day for the first month - we might not use this everyday, but this is my biggest postnatal gift wish’



Doulas can be a brilliant support to you writing plans. Their mere presence in your life can help you make time and be accountable to yourself to get them written & do the thinking and research for yourself. They’re also great people to get feedback from on additional offers/choices you might not have know exist, and can give you an insight on how certain #birthspaces and choices may often play out currently.



Be kind to yourself and have a go at writing your own plan/plans. Allow yourself the time and space to imagine that Plan A and know your options. If you would like to book a birth planning session with me these are available in-person if you're local to Portsmouth , UK, Souths East Hampshire or West Sussex or over zoom wherever you are in the world book a discovery call or service option with me here https://www.doulasophy.co.uk/book-online




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