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Writing a Birth Plan: What’s the point?

If you’re giving birth these days, odds are you’ve heard about typing up a birth plan, a course of action for how you’d like your birth to go. Some hospitals even have their own format for birth plans, welcoming communication from their patients and opening up the door for further education on common hospital procedures and practices.

But if you’re on the internet for too long, you’re bound to find a handful of individuals who criticize the writing of birth plans, often claiming, “You can’t plan your birth!” or, “You’re only setting yourself up for failure.”

placerville doula, birth affirmation, writing a birth plan, birth plansWell, they’re right about one thing.

The vast majority of the time, you can’t plan your birth. However, the point of writing a birth plan is not to create an exact blueprint for your birth journey. By writing a birth plan, you’re not setting yourself up for failure; you’re setting yourself up for success.

Creating a birth plan is an excellent way to learn, explore, and educate yourself on your options. There are so many choices in childbirth, from what you wear when you deliver to who cuts the cord to where your placenta goes. The opportunities for learning and deciding are practically limitless.

Writing a birth plan also helps facilitate communication between you and your care providers. During pregnancy, you can share your plan with your doctor or midwife and get their input on hospital or birth center policies, what they are comfortable with, and more information on your options (this can also help you decide if you want to maintain care with your current provider or find a provider who better aligns with your desires for birth). In the glorious oxytocin rush during labor and birth, you may forget altogether that you had a preference on this or that; writing up a plan keeps those involved focused on the goals.

What if my plan goes astray?

This is why the language of a birth plan often includes the phrases “birth preferences” or “barring any medical emergencies”; there is always room for variables in childbirth. The benefit to being faced with a change of plan in the delivery room is that you’ve already weighed your options by writing a birth plan; you’ll be better able to make an informed decision if your plan goes awry. Combine this with an amazing birth team and you’re setting yourself up to have an empowering birth experience no matter the outcome.

Contact me today to set up a consultation for creating a birth plan or doula support services.

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