Creating a birth plan has so many benefits for both pregnant mom and her baby.
A birth plan can help mom work through her ideal birth and helps her to walk through the steps of what to expect during birth.
This can help soon to be moms reduce the fear of birth, take control and become an active participant in their birth and make well-informed decisions for themselves and their baby.
As great as creating a birth plan is, there is one very big downside to birth plans.
The sad, cold reality is that no matter how much time, effort and planning went into your birth plan, things happen.
Sometimes the unexpected pops up, and the entire birth plan needs to change.
This can lead lots of new moms feeling like failures or they have a negative view of their birthing experience after the fact because it wasn’t what they planned for.
The last thing any pregnant mom wants to do is set themselves up for disappointment over a plan that falls through.
To avoid this, here are our top suggestions when creating your own birth plan and avoiding the heartache.
1. Having the Wrong Mindset as to What a Birth Plan Is
While creating your birth plan, always keep in mind that it is just an ideal plan.
What you would want to happen in the most perfect of circumstances.
But know that most of the time, things aren’t perfect, and that’s ok.
That even if your birth plan is set, that it is a flexible plan and you know that things could change.
Often mom’s feel like failures because they planned for a drug-free birth and ended up requesting an epidural.
These women are not failures!
Birthing is hard and everyone experiences the pain differently.
Instead, when creating your plan think along the lines of ideally I want a drug free birth, but if the pain is too much, that’s ok too.
To avoid having your plan completely derailed, make sure to plan for contingencies.
This means that you should have a “what-if” area, and plan accordingly.
This means if you are planning for a vaginal birth, also create an “in case of a “cesarean plan” too.
2. A Birth Plan Should Grow and Evolve
Depending on your circumstance and the conversations that are happening with your midwife or doctor, it’s important to keep your plan flexible.
For instance, part of your birth plan may include no I.V. unless necessary.
Toward the end of pregnancy, most providers will test you for GBS (Group B Strep.) Many women will test positive for this test.
In this instance, many providers will insist on I.V. antibiotics during labor.
Even when I was having an all-natural birth at a very crunchy birthing center, they said their policy was to administer antibiotics in mothers who test positive.
This means you may have to decide to adapt your plan to possibly include an I.V. for this instance.
3. Not Including Your Provider in the Plan
Another big mistake many women make is not including the birthing team in the birth plan.
This means discussing the plan with your doctor or midwife ahead of time.
They should be on board with your plan and be able to make sure that you understand what each aspect means to you.
It’s surprisingly common to hear that many new moms are nervous on sharing all the aspects of their plan with their doctor or midwife.
They want to simply print out a form and hand it to their provider during labor.
This approach often leads to misunderstandings or certain aspects of the plan may not be realistic due to circumstance.
If you find yourself afraid to talk to your provider about what you want during birth, it may be time to analyze if this is the best person for you to birth with.
Make sure you are with a provider that aligns with your ideas of what birthing should be.
4. Not Doing Your Research
When creating your birth plan, make sure to do your research over each area.
You may have your ideal birth in mind, but make sure you actually know about the pro’s and con’s to each scenario.
Being informed helps you make the right decision for you, and will help you adjust your plan accordingly should complications arise.
Doing your research is one of the best things you can do before finishing your birth plan.
5. Making a Complicated Plan
There are lots of birth plan templates out there!
Some of them get really complicated and complex.
During birth, it’s hard for providers to focus on caring for you, your baby and figuring out your birth plan all at the same time.
Plus, you really don’t need to micro-plan the entire thing. Just figure out what’s really important to you, and put that down.
After all, your real goal during birth is to safely bring your baby into the world, in the most peaceful way possible, whatever that means to you.
This is one of the reasons I love visual birth plans.
You can see everything you want on one page.
This makes it easy for you to keep sight of what’s important to you during your birth and your providers can easily and quickly identify what you want.
Plus some of them are super pretty! They make great keepsakes for after baby gets here.
What to do When Creating a Birth Plan
Again, focus on the important things that you really want.
Find a way to put it all down in a way that makes sense to you and your providers.
Try to enjoy the process and keep in mind that a birth plan must remain flexible.