If you’re pregnant odds are you’ve gotten the question, ‘What’s your birth plan?’ Sometimes when you aren’t even past your first trimester!
I personally always planned on making a birth plan! As a woman who often finds my anxieties worsened by uncertainty, the idea of a birth plan sounded wonderful. I can plan out exactly how I want my birth experience to be? Of course let’s do that! One problem. The only person who has a say in how your birth story comes to be is the little one you’re carrying. You can’t plan out a completely unpredictable experience.
Pregnancy is your first lesson in motherhood as it teaches you to give up your body to someone else, and teaches you to be patient. And your labor will teach you that- HEY! You aren’t in charge anymore.
As I came to my 37th week of pregnancy I thought I could go into labor at any second!
But then came week 38, 39, 40, and 41.
Still no baby.
My personal first lesson in patience with my body and my baby. I had to be induced 8 days after my due date. This was definitely not what I had planned for! I’m not alone in this, almost any woman you ever talk to will tell you that their labor did not go the way they had planned. Whether it comes by induction like me, unplanned cescarian, health complications, or preterm labor; there are a million ways labor can go that you can’t prepare for! So what can you do?
Let’s get down to what you do need to prepare. I asked my doctor what parts of a birthing plan were necessary, and she named these as the things you should decide in advance. And as much as you can, keep an open mind to labor being whatever it will be. Being flexible will make for an all around more comfortable and calm labor experience. So here is the list of things you DO need to decide:
Who you’d like in the room with you
And make sure that all parties know in advance where they will be in order to avoid any drama or hurt feelings later on.
Your preferred pain relieving methods
This is a very big one. It will decide how you manage your pain during the most difficult time of your life. The key word here is preferred, so decide how you would like to receive relief, whether that be through a TENS device, medication, epidural, or birthing/breathing techniques. But remember, there is absolutely no shame in deciding you need more pain relieving tactics when you are actually in labor.
After delivery procedures
Would you like immediate skin-to-skin contact? Cord blood banking? Vitamin K ointment in the eyes? Delayed cord clamping? Vaccinated? Circumcision (if applicable)? These are just a few common after birth questions you may want to be more picky about.
Overall the best thing you can do during labor is to remain calm. Easier said than done. But try not to let the things you can’t control control you. You may not be able to control the way your labor occurs or by what means your baby is brought into the world. Trying to stick to rigid plans will do nothing but make your experience more tense. So do what you can do and focus on your own emotions. Decide to let your labor environment be one filled with love, calmness, and excitement!