Birth plans – may not be the best thing!


Congratulations! You’re expecting. You’re either jumping up and down with joy or you’re truly freaking out.

Whether it’s planned or accidental, your first or adding siblings to the tribe, the news of adding a little one in the mix comes with decision making and planning.

If it’s your first there are many avenues that either will need to be changed or redirected to make room for this extra little person in your lives.

Some renovate, move house or even move countries.

Decisions about careers, finances, interior design and other changes are to be planned so that you can be prepared for this amazing life changing event.

Most of us probably found out that we were pregnant under the 8-10 week mark, which gives us plenty of time to decide on how and when the changes are made.

One of your first decisions is usually finding your primary caregiver. Whether it’s going to be an obstetrician, a midwife or both is totally up to you.

In New Zealand all options are left up to the individual unless for medical reasons you need to have a doctor included in your care.

As your pregnancy progresses and your bump is getting bigger,  you are truly well on your way to becoming a mum.

Antenatal classes are great. They will give you knowledge about what to expect around your labour, pain relief, birth, breastfeeding, hopefully bottle feeding too, and skim over info for the first few days postpartum.

From here on in, some of you will be discussing a plan.

Yep, a Birth Plan. I would rather call it either a Birth Intention or Birth Proposal.

Now a plan can be described as a goal, target or even a schedule.

So when your writing your birth plan, you may be asked what your expectations are, your goals and outcomes and even what your ideal schedule looks like upon delivering your baby.

These may include when to go to hospital or when to call your primary care giver once you’re in labour.

Decisions around what or if any pain relief you may be administered.

Birthing position.

Who is going to be there with you?

Gosh I even came across an article where it states you need to let everyone know about your birth plan, who is going to be there while you’re in labour, is your husband going to handle it, who will visit you after your baby is born?

Will you be taking photos or video?

Special music.

Special food

Even making the decision as to when doctors take over or giving them permission to perform a C Section.

When will first feeding occur?

Will your partner cut the cord and when?

How long will I stay in hospital?

Birth plans definitely have their place and can be very useful to keep you focused and calm.

However a baby will come into this world the best way it knows how, whether that is through natural means or with intervention.

You can’t predict how your baby will come into this world.

This is why birth plans need to be written with a very open mind and is only a proposal or an intention that can be changed and not adhered to.

Once you have made your plan there are expectations attached, no room for error and goals to strive for.

But these plans can go out the window and many do just that.

The disappointment is that much greater and feeling of failure is greater, which can cause anxiety and even depression.

So my advice to all mums is to write down your wishes, requests and possible outcomes and keep an open mind to whatever can happen.

The more open minded you can be the less disappointed you will be if it didn’t quite go to plan!

Remember you’re both in this together so there needs to be room for movement.

Stay confident and feel empowered to enjoy your journey ahead.

Trish Martin

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