Wednesday, 30 July 2014

making a birth plan

When you're pregnant you're advised to make a birth plan. It's to go in your hand held notes, and taken with you to wherever it is you're going to have the baby (as well as all the appointments you go to along the way).

This is really important because sadly, at the moment, there are not enough midwives for women to have one to one relationships with a dedicated midwife (although, that might be for the best in some cases).  Your birth plan gives your health professionals something to look at to get an idea of the kind of birth you want.

If you remember to take it out of your bag...  And IF your health professionals read it.  You could of course tell them what you want, but you might be a bit busy.  It's always good to get your birthing partner trained up in advance so that they know what you want too.

I am the kind of person who likes lists.  I have a to-do list, a to-read list, and mountains of notes in Evernote of things I intend to do one day, maybe.

However, I don't mind going off list a little bit.  For me, it's a starting point. A mission statement of sorts.  For all of my births I wanted an active natural birth, with little or no pain medication. I got this once (on my second). For my first birth, my wishes were ignored by the health professionals, who induced me without informing me that that would mean I could no longer be active. Grr. For my third birth, I started off natural, with minimal pain relief, and ended up with a spinal and a section, because it was necessary, and I was fine with that.

Claire seems to have had a very similar experience to my own:
I had a birth plan, and didn't get anywhere close to it due to being 2 weeks overdue and high blood pressure. I ended up having to have an epidural, which I vowed never to have. After a very slow induced labour the consultant decided enough was enough and used forceps. I felt like i could have carried on pushing and begged the consultant not to intervene but they said I was running out of time (even though the baby's heart rate was steady). All in all I was left feeling like I'd lost control and saddened by the whole experience. My second pregnancy was a different matter entirely. It was a home birth with a wonderful midwife that I had throughout. I felt in complete control. All in all it was a wonderful experience (even managed without pain relief).
Other people aren't like Claire and I.  Many people say 'what will be will be', they trust the health professionals will know a lot more about birth than they do, and they follow their lead.  

Some people don't want to make a birthing plan because they know that once they've planned something, they don't want to go to plan B.  Others, like Sally, don't feel there is a plan B. Sally was expecting twins, and was given one option: caesarian section.

And lots of people don't make a birthing plan because they don't see the point.  Carol had a birthing plan for her first birth, but not for her second:
I had a plan with [my first] really didn't with [my second]... purely as with [my first] I couldn't have her the way I wanted to so with [my second] I kinda went with it.
Cate was the same:
I didn't bother 2nd time around as with [my first] it all got taken out of my hands as he got stuck!! 
 As was Sarah:
I know now that I'm working on making baby no 3 to trust my instincts more, to go with the flow and not try to plan or expect anything in particular as every pregnancy is different. I was told some horror stories when I was first pregnant so planned all the pain relief and everything only to go overdue and needed to be induced, which put paid to all my plans...
Sally (with the twins) didn't make a plan for her second birth (a singleton this time) either.  She really doesn't like birth plans:
I am glad I never bothered with a birthing plan as I would have hated to get my hopes up and have them dashed when things didn't go to plan...I think they lull you into a false sense of security.
I can see what people mean about going with the flow and not raising your hopes, but I'm still glad I made a birth plan each time. It was good to think everything through beforehand, and it really helped to crystallise what I wanted in my head.

What are your thoughts on birth plans?  Would you or did you make them?  Do you usually plan for difficult situations? 

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