This might seem a bit extreme, but for a lot of couples, they put more thought into the parties they hold than the birth of their child and how they will approach parenting. Many people will put more money, time and energy and agonise of minute details of a wedding, but will put their entire pregnancy and birth into the ‘routine’ and impersonal hands of a medical professional.
Have you made time to know your options? image from morguefile
If you have a good care provider, this can result in a wonderful birth - especially if you are confident in your body and are able to advocate for yourself along the way. But as is often the case, being taken for the routine ride of pregnancy and birth means that you are told on a ‘need to know’ basis - which means often very little time to make truly informed decisions.
Without a plan, a pregnancy is more likely to be medically managed (often unnecessarily) and a mother left confused or, in some cases, traumatised by the birth. This leads to higher chances of postnatal depression, difficulties with breastfeeding, bonding and general feelings of dissatisfaction. And because we should be grateful for our healthy baby - we can not discuss our feelings.
Confusion results when our options seem contradictory image from morguefile
Informed birth planning means giving the time and energy to understanding where you need to make decisions, and ensuring they are informed. It means being prepared for any outcome, and in doing so means you are more likely to birth according to your ideal. Informed decisions vary according to circumstances, there is no one-for-all Birth Plan.
A free plan, found online can give you clues, but it takes more than filling in the blanks or copying someone else’s plan.
A doula is an excellent way to take the guess-work out of preparing for your birth and transition into parenthood…a doula will prevent you from drowning in info-overload and ensure you get all the evidence-based information you need.
Birth planning is not about creating a wish list or list of demands. Terminology such us ‘unless medically indicated’ is open to interpretation. As you prepare you will learn what this means and retain the power of the decision.
Birth Pathways, when we know all the possibilities and how they link, it makes it easier to navigate. Image created by bellabirth.
'If this - than that'
You will have decided pre-labour what is right for you. The plan is a map, it allows for detours and alternate routes, and under what conditions each route is taken.
Just as a wedding planner will personalise the event for you, a doula will help you personalise your birth.