It’s Your Birth. Plan for it – and then be Flexible

I didn’t have a birth plan with the birth of my first child.  I just assumed things would happen more or less like I wanted them to.  There were two problems with this approach: 1) birth is unpredictable 2) I only realized what I could have had and wanted, after the fact.

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Birth is one of the most important events in a parent’s life and yet very few of us prepare for the experience itself. Why is it that so many mothers put all their time into obtaining information for once baby is here, but very little into learning about and preparing for the actual birth? I blame ignorance and a blind trust in systems & processes many parents know very little about. The importance of the birth experience itself, is something many first time parents only realise after the fact. That is probably why birth plans are more common when it comes to second or third time parents.

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I’m not particularly fond of the term ‘birth plan’ as how you become a parent is not nearly as important as becoming a parent in itself and one needs to flexible, but I am a firm believer in understanding the options and outlining your birth preferences. I have seen one too many times how an unplanned birth procedure or experience can leave emotional scars for years to come if the parents are ill informed. Taking ownership of your birth experience can be hugely rewarding and empowering – whether natural or C-Section. That does not mean that you do not seek professional advice, guidance & skill in making and implementing your choices.  It also does not mean you can plan and control everything about your birth – it would be ignorant to think or suggest that.  It simply means you participate in your own birth and decisions by understanding what the options are and knowing your own preferences. It is deciding what is important to you and your partner and what are the small things you’re not going to sweat.

A birth plan is a written record of what you want to happen with you and your baby before, during and immediately after birth.  It is the (rough) ‘road map’ that helps you shape your experience in partnership with your birth team, remembering that there is ‘more than one road that leads to Rome’. It is not the law, but it places you and your partner at the steer and allows for better communication regarding your needs and concerns.

A birth plan encourages you to think about, explore and discuss the options available to you, before you go into labour. It also allows you to work towards and prepare for the birth you want (yes, getting it can be hard work but is always worth the effort!) Every birth plan is unique and personal and will depend on what you want, your medical history, as well as what is available at your maternity service of choice.

It is important to discuss your birth plan with your birth team beforehand and insure that everyone who may in some way be part of your birth experience, has a copy and is on board.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning and working towards the birth that you, your partner and your baby deserve!  Have you used / not used a birth plan before?  Please feel free to share your experience within the comment box below!

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This post was originally featured on Carmien Kiddies.

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Commentry on the above is always welcome,