Every mother wants to feel informed, empowered and prepared for childbirth. This can be challenging and sometimes very overwhelming given the reality that more often than not, doctors don’t do an adequate job supplying evidence-based information or even clear factual explanations as to why many interventions or newborn procedures are common practice today.
Although it is understood that most midwives are supportive of natural birth and generally more considerate of women’s birth preferences, it’s important to discuss your concerns and expectations with them to determine how “hands-in” they actually are.
Remember, you hire your care provider; they require your permission to act. You have every right to inquire about their practices. One of your main focuses should be to make certain you feel comfortable with the level of intervention and type of support you will receive from whoever you choose to assist you the day of your baby’s arrival. It can be very difficult to trust in the wisdom of your body if your care provider does not.
It’s true that things don’t always go as we anticipate they will during childbirth BUT as with any important event in life, it’s helpful to have a plan laid out. Having a clear picture of what your ideal experience looks like makes it easier to communicate what you need and where your boundaries fall. A birth plan also helps those offering you support to have a better understanding of how to best serve you.
You might want to consider hiring a doula for additional support, even if you feel you have enough from your partner and/or birth team. Doulas can help to prepare you emotionally and mentally; they will be able to supply you with research based articles and resources so that you are informed of your options and rights. They can also provide encouragement and reinforcement to your partner and/or team. Learn more about the benefits of hiring a doula here.
I have compiled a list of interventions, newborn procedures and topics rarely discussed by care providers to consider addressing before writing your birth plan. Follow the links to read more about these subjects:
Other Relavent Information
-the truth about breech birth
-when meconium is present
-the truth about nuchal cord (cord wrapped around baby’s neck)
You might want to also discuss the following topics in your birth plan:
1. The names of the people you are comfortable having at your birth
2. The details of your transfer plan in case of an emergency (if you are having a home birth)
3. Medications you want or would like to avoid (if you are having a hospital birth)
4. The use of formula or glucose water
5. The use of pacifiers
6. The mood or setting of your birthing environment (ex: low lighting, quiet, music etc.)
7. Spontaneous bearing down vs. coached pushing
8. Keeping baby with you at all times, newborn procedures done bedside
9. Catching the baby yourself
It’s helpful to keep everything organized and easy to read, preferably on a single page. Make multiple copies for your doula, midwife/doctor, nurses etc. If your care provider seems resistant or frustrated that you have put together a plan, it may be an indication that they will not respect your preferences.
Your body is designed to give birth to your baby; trust the process and know you are powerful, strong and capable. Choose a care provider who values your experience and will respect your needs, feelings and instincts. This is your birth, your body and your baby’s introduction to the world; you deserve a safe and peaceful birth surrounded and supported by people who will honor you.