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When expectant parents write a birth plan, it is filled with hope for a birth that goes according to that plan and if anything doesn't go according to the words on the page, it can feel like a failure for the parents who invested so much of themselves into the plan.
How can you avoid creating a birth plan that risks setting you up for failure?
Think beyond the birth plan.
Birth is not something that can be planned or controlled.
Birth does follow a path that is predictable, but the timing, the evolution of the stages, your level of preparation both physically and mentally all play a role in how you progress through that path. How you face challenges in your life, how you manage your health, how you communicate, these are some of the important aspects that should be called on when creating your birth plan.
When your birth plan is focused on avoiding interventions, it's not supporting what you do need in order to prevent a situation where those interventions may be recommended. In this kind of birth plan, you risk becoming focused on avoiding the negative instead of guiding your team to provide the positive support that you need. Going into your birth and giving your birth team a list of negatives is not the ideal way to start your birth.
An intervention only becomes negative when it's not needed - when it's disrupting a birth that is progressing without risk or harm to mom or baby to meet an externally defined standard. However, I have worked with some expectant moms who went into labor with a baby who just wasn't quite positioned right, who labored and labored and labored without pain meds, without IV fluids, without continuous monitoring, for days, and at some point, these heroic moms were tired and requested interventions. Laboring for 2-3 days on end, with every known midwifery technique to try to shift baby's position and showing no signs of change certainly justifies an epidural so mom can get some rest.
These heroic moms should never feel like a failure because they needed an intervention to support their labor process, but a poorly set up birth plan can lead to just these feelings.
Instead, with a properly formulated birth plan that lays out how you prefer to be supported, how you are comfortable communicating, how you have prepared for labor, you can have a solid plan that conveys to your birth team how they can best support you and this positive support is what will provide the most help toward avoiding unnecessary interventions because you will have a team that knows what you need, that knows how to help you and will work with you to achieve your positive birth experience.
Creating this kind of birth plan comes about from first knowing yourself, knowing how to express your needs and anticipating the kind of support that will help you thrive based on your previous life experiences. For some, this might require understanding yourself on a different level than you have before, exploring your everyday life and how you interact with your environment. This is what we call, understanding your Natural Birth Compass in the Natural Birth Compass program so you have your constant guide throughout your birth from start to finish.
With this kind of birth plan and your Natural Birth Compass, you will be prepared to face anything that could possibly arise in your birth with confidence and the right communication tools so you can make the right decisions for your birth.
If you would like to learn how to create your birth plan to set you up for a positive birth experience, we invite you to check out our membership site where you have access to creating your birth vision and learning about the process of birth so you can go to your birth prepared. It's an entire birth course and more!
For more information on creating your birth plan, read our previous articles:
Don't make these mistakes in your birth plan!
Are birth plans enough for natural birth today?
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