Friday, June 11, 2010

To plan or not to plan

Often when talking with potential clients, the topic of a Birth Plan come up. Many expectant mothers are hesitant to write out a plan because they have heard that doctors don't like them and they are worried that they will be disappointed if things do not go the way they had envisioned.
While that may or may not be true, I usually will encourage my clients to write something out for themselves. It is correct that no doctor or nurse wants to read an elaborate two-page plan, but she may want to have something to share with her partner and doula. Additionally, just the process of thinking about the different options is very valuable to the woman. She can think about and discuss how she feels about staying active in labor, specific interventions or even at what point she would like to go to the hospital/birthing center.
It is true that things do not ever really go according to "plan" in labor and a woman should definitely keep this in mind when thinking about her birth preferences and be flexible. But the attitude of "I do not want to think about it because what if things happen differently" is a bit misguided. If you do not know how you would like your childbirth to be, how can you prepare yourself to ensure that these things actually happen? If you want a low intervention birth, what are you doing to make this a reality? Have you discussed your wishes with your care provider Have you thought about alternative comfort measures? These are all questions that can be addressed by making a plan.
Additionally, I will often recommend that my clients make a list of their top 3-5 priorities and that they discuss these specific things with their care provider. Like this, their list is not overwhelming but it still covers the most important things. A short list like that is also something you can bring to the hospital and a nurse will be able to read it quickly and work with you.
In short: It is good to have a plan and be thought out. You do not have to write it all down but you should definitely take the time to think about your wishes. Share your top 3-5 concerns with your care provider and most importantly, be flexible and open to the journey that lies ahead!

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of sharing the top 3-5 things. I think that works particularly well in a birth environment that already agrees with the mother's birth philosophy.