Do I need a birth plan?
I remember very clearly creating a beautiful birth plan for my birth bond. I wanted a natural water birth, a calm quiet experience using gas and air only and no other interventions. But life and my baby had other plans. I went into labor but did not dilate more than 2cm after 26 hours. I was exhausted, but I wanted to keep going. After 27 hours suddenly my baby's heart rate began to drop. He was in major distress and we had to get him out. I was rushed to have an emergency C-section before I could really even absorb what was happening. Was this my plan? Hell no. Was it the safest thing for both my baby and me? Absolutely.
Expecting a baby is a thrilling journey filled with excitement, anticipation, and countless decisions to make. One of the major considerations that often comes up is whether or not to have a birth plan. It's a question that many expectant Mums deal with as they prepare for the big day.
In this blog, we're delving into the pros and cons of having a birth plan and shedding light on what to expect when you go into the hospital for this life-changing event.
The Pros of Having a Birth Plan:
- Clarity and Focus: A birth plan helps you clearly articulate your preferences and priorities during labor and delivery, ensuring that your healthcare team is aware of your choices.
- Informed Decision-making: Researching and creating a birth plan can provide you with valuable information about various birthing options and medical interventions, empowering you to make informed decisions.
- Communication: Sharing your birth plan with your healthcare providers helps to create open communication, enabling a better understanding of your expectations and desires for your birthing experience.
- Advocacy: A well-prepared birth plan can serve as a tool for advocating for your preferences during labor, especially if unforeseen circumstances arise which they often do.
The Cons of Having a Birth Plan:
- Unpredictability: Labor and childbirth are totally unpredictable, and every birth is unique. A rigid birth plan might cause stress if things don't go exactly as planned. Keep this in mind and try to create a plan that allows for different situations that may arise.
- Medical Necessities: In certain situations, medical interventions may be necessary for the safety of both you and your baby. A strict birth plan may conflict with these interventions so be aware that you may need to compromise on a few things.
- Potential Disappointment: If the birth doesn't align with your plan, you may experience disappointment. This is totally valid and normal. It’s important to talk about and allow yourself to feel this sense of loss while also keeping in mind what is safest for everyone.
Things can change
It's crucial to remember that even with a birth plan and a designated advocate, labor and childbirth may unfold differently than you anticipated. The most important aspect of this journey is the health and safety of both you and your baby. While a birth plan can provide a roadmap, being open to adaptability and trusting the expertise of your healthcare team is of utmost importance.
What to Expect When You Go into Hospital to Have Your Baby:
- Admission Process: Upon arrival, you'll be admitted and monitored, and your healthcare team will assess your progress and determine the next steps based on your stage of labor.
- Labor and Delivery: The process involves stages of labor, including contractions, dilation, and ultimately, the arrival of your precious little one. If you are booked in for a planned C section you will be admitted and taken through what will happen by your team who will stay with you and talk you through everything as it happens.
- Postpartum Care: After delivery, you'll receive postpartum care, including bonding time with your baby, necessary check-ups, and guidance on breastfeeding and newborn care. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need while you have a team of midwives around you. Your little one won’t come with an instruction manual!
Remember, the most important aspect of childbirth is the health and well-being of both you and your baby. A birth plan can be a helpful tool, but remaining flexible and having a supportive healthcare team who will listen to your preferences is equally vital for a safe and positive birthing experience. It can be a great idea to make sure your birthing partner/ support person knows your birth plan and preferences before you go into labor. Things will get inters very quickly and you may not feel able to advocate for yourself in the heat of labor.
However your little one arrives into this world I wish you a smooth, beautiful and safe birthing experience!