Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birth Plan

I've been hearing a lot about birth plans, mostly on a US preggo's forum I lurk around but also from some of people I've talked to in my personal life. Apparently lots of women opt to draft a detailed birth plan prior to the big event so that they, their support person, the medical staff and whoever else happens to wander by will all be on the same page on the day.

It's an interesting concept. I know a lot of people that like to feel prepared. They're super organised and it gives them a sense of control. Since pregnancy is a time of total loss of control, over body, emotions, memory, self, I can see how gaining some it back, especially during what would have to be the scariest aspect of pregnancy, sounds pretty appealing.

Having never actually heard of a birth plan before, I decided to look into it. I found a range of examples online from the thorough, the natural home birth, to the elective c-section birth plan. Seems like every body was doing a plan. I was surprised by the level of detail these women included. The fact that they new enough about induction to actually specify how it was to be done and which substance was to be used made me feel more than a little unprepared.

Everything I know about labour I've learnt from TV. So my expectation was that at some point a tidal wave of fluid would gush out of my nether regions. There would be a lot of screaming and rushing around. We'd get to the hospital where there would be more screaming and swearing and crying. Somebody would get a bucket of hot water. I'd start to resemble to woman from The Exorcist, my other half would pass out. Then the doctor would see the head. There'd be a collective sigh of relief and everything would be calm again.


I raised birth plans with my doctor at one of my many appointments. My Ob told me the more complex and detailed a birth plan is, the more likely you'll wind up having an emergency c-section with complications. She's about a hundred years old and has been doing the pregnancy doctoring since the dawn of time so I assume she knows what she's talking about. She also told me that realistically, none of the birthing process is actually up to me and that I should be flexible and just go with the flow.

My life MO is basically to wing it (or stumble around in the dark and wind up where I'm going by blind luck). Go with the flow. I can definitely do that. I dismissed the idea of a birth plan there and then and decided to stick with my original approach. I began joking about my birth plan, whenever I was asked, being that I would go to sleep one night and wake up with a healthy and happy baby sleeping beside me. No mess, no fuss. Chalk it up. It would be met with either a concerned "she's living in a dream world, I"m worried" glance by women who've been through child birth or laughter and a "Good luck with that" from people who hadn't.

To be honest, I think birth plans are a bit of bullshit. Unless you've been through the process you can't possibly know what to expect or how you might feel. When it comes to pain relief, I think there's a fine line between bravery and stupidity.

So, here's my birth plan:

1. Go into labour.

2. Go to hospital.

3. Get drugs.

4. Have baby.

5. Take a nap.

(not necessarily in that order)



  1. Haha, sounds like a solid plan! Some of these mums to be freak me out. If I ever turn to those sorts of obsessive extremes one day, I want someone to punch me.

  2. Great plan! That's about as far as my birth plans went. If you have Crohns and are seeing as high risk ob, there is even less up to you. I was on pred both times, so I had to be hooked up to a monitor and iv the whole time....very little of what I learned in prenatal class was of much use in that situation! Hope all goes well!

  3. One tip- If you get a crummy nurse, have your partner go to the nursing station and ask for a new one. I didn't know that was an option until baby #4. Just know you have options in birth and don't be afraid to speak up for yourself (and baby) if you need to.