I remember a midwife once telling me that it’s those who don’t have any nervousness around labor and delivery that worry her most. You might think that’s strange however, birth is full of many unknowns. Sure we know that you’ll leave labor with your baby now a part of the “outside” world, but we really can’t say how they’ll be getting there. Even for parents who’ve experienced birth before, no two births are ever quite alike. With so much unknown going into labor it’s completely understandable to feel some fear!
To begin to understand, address, and hopefully put fears to rest, a birth plan is essential. Creating a birth plan involves discussing how you foresee your upcoming birth, determining your preferences, and generating open dialogue that identifies any fears and anxieties about labor and delivery.
It’s essential to discuss your wishes and pain management techniques with those attending your birth. How else will your team know how you need to be cared for? Educating yourself on birth so that you understand the different options and knowing your preferences is important. Also within this discussion and education it’s necessary to come up with birth plans A, B and C.
“Plan A” is the “ideal vision” of how you may like to see your birth unfold. “Plan B” relates to what you would do if you needed an unplanned intervention, such as labor augmentation. Then there is the final birth plan, “Plan C” should you need major intervention like a cesarean or induction. What does that look like, and and what are the limitations of these procedures? Plans B and C are not necessarily the most desired, but within these procedures, how can you still honor some of your original ideas? For example you may begin to look into family centered cesareans.
I urge you to think beyond your dream scenario, read the “scary chapters” and put real thought into the many possibilities of your birth. This way you aren’t caught off guard. If your birth does veer away from Plan A, you can be comforted in the knowledge that Plan B and C ready and waiting. This may help you to feel more empowered and a part of the decision making in a birth that doesn’t go as planned while allowing your team to make choices that honor your wishes.
photo by Evgeniy Isaev