Until a few decades ago, birth was entrusted almost entirely to doctors and/or, midwives. These days, women are taking more of a stand in their birth choices and stating that their birth is different than the ‘average’. Just because one method works for one mother, doesn’t mean it should be applied across the board. This is where birth plans come in – a general guide to preferences during and after birth. Many people think that birth can’t be mapped out – and this is true. Many people see a birth guide as a straight road, when in fact a good birth plan is based around two major features:
- Preferences for situations, no matter what interventions are needed.
- A way to point out the most important things that parents want (some things you may not mind, while others may be of major importance to you, based on your history, beliefs and knowledge.)
So what’s so great about a birth plan?
- Being informed and making choices ahead of time will make it easier to deal with the unpredictable.
- Having a general guide means less time spent telling birth supporters and medical staff what you want, when you’re deep in labor land.
- A plan takes the stress off about remembering and reminding during the rush of birth and the emotions that follow. The less stress the better!
Did You Know?
Legally you can refuse any person, trainee or PROCEDURE that you don’t want during birth, ask for more information OR look for a compromise. Read more about your rights in childbirth.
Why Do I Need A Birth Plan Instead Of Going With The Flow?
“Going with the flow” can be a safe way of saying “I have no idea. I am scared stiff. All I hear are descriptions of excruciating pain, and watermelons coming out of places they shouldn’t. I am just going to put myself in the hands of the experts, and hope I am fine.”. Women may be inclined to turn to this approach as a form of default, not knowing any other way, and as an acknowledgement that childbirth is out of their control. An understandable justification…
…Birth DOES matter, because how we experience it can affect every single thing that occurs after it. For this reason, ‘just going with the flow’ can be risky, as it often entails ‘giving your birth over to the experts’, and following their flow, as they advise you throughout. What this process can fail to provide, for a woman and her partner, is the opportunity to ask questions, provide insights, and make decisions as part of a team. Being involved in decision-making is a key aspect of emerging empowered from birth. Even if you make the same decision as your health carer advises…it is still YOUR decision if made from a place of knowledge (due to having information) rather than fear.”
Consent or Preference
There are two commonly used wordings for birth plans. You can use whichever wording you feel comfortable with (and based on how good you think the medical staff will be in following your preferences) or you can compromise and use both or a completely different way of setting out your birth plan. It’s your birth plan – write it in the way you’re most comfortable with!1 | 2 | 3 | 4