DO YOU NEED A BIRTH PLAN?
This is a question I’ve been getting lately and I thought it would be a great blog post. The answer may surprise you….
No. No I don’t. Not the kind most people would have anyways. I don’t have it written down. I don’t have the exact way I want to birth, position, people in the room ect. Here is my birth plan. Survive. That is it. Go with the flow that will be my labor and birth. No ones birth is the same. Not even first time moms. As an L&D nurse I’ve seen prima gravidas (first baby) take days or just a few hours. Do I think I’ll fall into the hours category? Uh no. But I’m not worried about it. It will take as long as it takes and there is LITERALLY nothing I can do about it. I don’t have directions for the nurse or midwife. I don’t have written down “Do not offer me pain meds” or that I WON’T have any interventions. These are things I don’t actually have to do since I’m having a birth center birth. I just won’t be offered pain meds because … there aren’t any in the building. I’ll put an example of a birth plan below because for those who deliver in a hospital environment it is helpful to be able to hand this to your labor nurse. You won’t be able to speak if you are in true labor and sometimes the dads forget their jobs in the heat of the moment.
What I will say is IF you do have a very specific birth plan please be aware that things may not go the way you PLAN. Assuming you have had a wedding… think back to the wedding. Did everything go smoothly and exactly according to plan? Usually the answer is no. If you couldn’t control your wedding, please don’t expect to control you birth. That BABY is in charge and that baby will do whatever he/she wants. Including be turned OP (face up) causing you to have a long and uncomfortable labor where you had imagined the hypnobirth of your dreams, in which you made zero noise and had no tears. All I’m saying is having a plan is fine, but not being realistically flexible about that plan is setting yourself up for extra stress during your labor. Am I saying to give in to a pushy doctor? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I am saying that you may HAVE to have an IV, and your nurse may HAVE to monitor you frequently if you end up having Pitocin or some other form of intervention. Having an induction isn’t the same as going into labor on your own and the risks increase dramatically because of the medications in your body and how they effect baby. If you plan on doing “natural” labor while being induced I strong recommend doing research on how Pitocin effects contractions and overall labor. At the facility I worked at I had to monitor you constantly if you were on Pitocin. It was the rules of the hospital. You need to know the rules BEFORE you go into labor. Make sure you take a tour of the place you plan to birth and ask ALL THE QUESTIONS!! Ask about their c-section rates and if they allow skin to skin afterwards as long as baby is stable. Ask these important questions while you still have the freedom to change facilities and providers. This is the important stuff. You can’t come into a hospital with a birth plan and assume they will be open to it. Are you in charge? Yes, but the fact remains that the facility will either be open to it, or make it a fight (which you don’t want to have to do in the middle of labor)
All in all birth plans are a great tool. But the most important tool is preparing for a realistic birth and picking the right providers and facility to give you that birth. Once you’re in labor, it’s much harder to figure these things out and that’s where moms end up getting bullied into interventions they didn’t want.
Here are things that I will have done that you may need to put on a birthplan if you are having a hospital birth. My birth center does all of these things without me asking them to do so. At our first visit I made sure that none of these things would be an issue.
◦ Delayed cord clamping (waiting until the cord is done pulsing to clamp and cut)
◦ Immediately have baby skin to skin with uninterrupted skin to skin time assuming baby is stable and I am stable.
◦ Water birth
◦ Prefer water to break on its own.
◦ Don’t talk to me. (This is anytime I’m in pain. It just annoys me) speak to Ken when needing to ask questions.
◦ I would like to catch baby if possible and cut the cord.
◦ Have access to food and drink should I want it (my birth center allows for this and even has a kitchen )
◦ Should a c-section need to happen – I would like skin to skin as long as baby and I are stable.