During prenatal appointments with my clients, I like to discuss the dreaded Birth Plan. I’ve had more than one client ask why they really need one. After all, the idea that their birth is going to go exactly as they “plan” is unlikely at best. I agree, a Birth Plan in the traditional sense, its a stretch. But this is where I introduce what I lovingly refer to as the “Yoga” Birth Plan.
The “Yoga” Birth Plan is just what it suggests… FLEXIBLE. It stretches, it breaths, and it changes under the circumstances. There is no set plan, but rather a list of your preferences. Do you want to move around, or do you have a preference to stay in one spot or position? Are you open to the use of pain relief medication? If so, which ones? Do you understand the pros and cons to each? As a birth doula, I can’t educate you on any of these things prior to or during labour. However, if we discuss them prior to your birth, I can point you in the direction of the necessary reference material or service providers for the education you need in order to make a good decision for you and your baby.
I believe there is still a place for a birth plan for all expecting parents. Whether it’s your first or fourth baby, no two births are the same for anyone. It doesn’t hurt to have a general idea of the things (that are within your control) that you have a preference for, discussed prior to Birth Day. I’m an advocate for childbirth education and understanding your rights and options. I can appreciate the “go with the flow” mentality; however, should an unexpected event occur it’s best to know you options. It’s not ideal to be getting an education on your options during the stresses of childbirth. For second or third (or more) time parents, there is a chance there is something that happened during your previous birth(s) that you didn’t like, or didn’t go as you would’ve preferred. This is a good opportunity to re-educate yourself on your options and/or adjust what you want out of this birth.
Whether you choose to use a birth plan or some version of it, the take-away is to get educated. Create a list of preferences and understand the pros and cons to options you may or may not have during childbirth. By communicating this information to your support team you are able to increase the probability of a positive birth experience.