The Birth Plan Reality

Here is some good advice (from when it come to writing a birth plan: “Try to keep it realistic and keep an open mind about changing your plans. Sticking to a plan too rigidly could actually compound your stress in the delivery room and cast a negative light on your birth experience.”

There are many factors that come into play that will affect what type of birth a woman has. Birth plans give caregivers an idea of the mother’s preferences, but the reality is that things hardly ever go exactly as planned. Sometimes your contractions just won’t get rolling on their own… sometimes your baby’s head is just too big… and sometimes the pain is just more than you expected.

One option, in place of a written birth plan, is to communicate verbally with the hospital healthcare team. According to Sarah McMoyler, RN, BSN, author of The Best Birth:   “When a couple arrives in L&D (Labor & Delivery) with a written dissertation on what will and won’t happen, outlining their plans for the birth, they are setting themselves up for disappointment, regret, and effectively distancing themselves from their nurses. The hospital team has the same goals you do: healthy moms and healthy babies, however you get there. When couples have realistic expectations of themselves and of the hospital, everyone can work together towards the same goal – a beautiful baby!”

For those that feel that creating a written, personal birth plan is essential, be sure to keep it flexible. One suggestion is to use words like “prefer” or “if possible”, when writing it. This makes your plan appear less like a complicated set of orders and more like an organized communication tool to share important preferences pertaining to your birth experience. In case an emergency cesarean birth is necessary, you should include preferences for such a scenario, as well.

“Every woman would like to know when it will happen, how long it will take and whether or not she really will need pain medicine,” says Dr. Binkley at Pregnancy Today. “Here are the definitive answers to these questions: It won’t happen soon enough or it will happen before you’re ready. It will take way too long or will be much faster than you thought; and it will hurt less or more than you expect. Some labors will be quick and uneventful, while others may take days and require medical intervention to accomplish the deed.”

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