Birth Plans are a great idea when used well. Unfortunately most expectant parents don’t really understand the difference between their Birth Plan and a WISH LIST or Menu Items. You may know what you want and don’t want at your birth but there’s no way to know how your birth will unfold so you can’t actually ‘plan’ your birth. This fact makes your Birth Plan much more complex.
We’ll be introducing you to a new concept … two valuable Birth Plans!
At the moment families often make a Birth Plan about what they want and try to figure out how to accept what happens. Hate to take you down the path with a HISTORY LESSON but it’s important that you know how to make TWO effective Birth Plans.
How did Birth Plans come into being?
Here’s some reality. Your mother may have been encouraged to make a Birth Plan. Your grandmother probably never heard of them. Birth Plans became popular in the mid1980s. Seems like FOREVER! But that’s really recently.
Why were Birth Plans advocated?
Beginning in the 1970s birth advocates wanted more progressive change in the ‘evidence based’ childbirth trends of that Time. They wanted women to have more ‘CHOICES’. Great idea! But it was based on a belief that ‘women know what type of birth they want’. Sounds good but that falls into the reality that there is no way to know how your birth will unfold.
Actually, birth advocates wanted more women to choose home birth, midwifery care and no medical ‘interventions’. In other words, Birth Plans were first imagined as a way to say ‘NO’ to medical care and YES to natural birth.
Nothing wrong with that, sort of. Birth Plans just got so CONFUSING. Birth professionals read them as a Wish List with so many things that it was hard to know how to give women everything they wanted and didn’t want.
What exactly are Birth Plans?
Birth Plans have sort of changed since the 1980s. Initially they were long, involved and basically discussed every aspect of birth and after birth care. Now Birth Plans have been SLIMMED DOWN and often discuss ‘If this can’t happen then I’d like this’.
Take a look at how you’re approaching your Birth Plan?
Are Birth Plans unfolding as families want?
Many too many women feel their Birth Plans FAILED them. Birth providers find them frustrating. Ask yourself this question: ‘If you have 10 things you have written on your Birth Plan, which ones are really important?’
If all 10 things are really important to you and 1 of them changes then you will face an EMOTIONAL REACTION … usually negative! How can anyone give you everything you want?
What should you do about your Birth Plan?
Create a Birth Plan for sure. Doing so is a brilliant exercise of understanding how you and your partner think about your coming birth. Every mother and father-to-be want a SAFE and easy birth.
On the Internet you will find many Birth Plan templates and ideas about your Birth Plan. Birth and after birth is such an important period of your Life. Every minute is filled with possibilities of how things can or cannot unfold.
You might have very STRONG IDEAS about your birth or what happens with you and your baby after birth. What you want and how you feel is really, really important.
If your birth unfolds as you hoped then you’ll be totally pleased with the efforts you put into creating a Birth Plan. If your Birth Plan did not unfold then you’ll have feelings.
Make a second Birth Plan
Let’s recap. Your CONVENTIONAL Birth Plan let’s your birth provider know what you want and don’t want but in reality they are MORE CONCERNED with how you’ll behave, cope and manage your birth.
A SKILLS-BASED Birth Plan helps them know what skills you and your partner have learned and will use during your baby’s birth.
Skills-based Birth Plans helps your birth providers encourage you to use your skills throughout your birth experience.
Birth providers want you to be in control and not overwhelmed and skills are the vehicle for staying on top of your birthing experience.
We want you to know exactly HOW-TO CONSTRUCT a Skills-based Birth Plan.
It’s really quite simple when you think about it. Your conventional Birth Plan makes choices about what you want and don’t want. For example, if you don’t want PAIN RELIEF then you’ll mention that on your conventional Birth Plan.
In your Skills-based Birth Plan, you’ll list the SKILLS you will use to cope, manage, deal with, work through and handle the natural occurring pain of labor contractions.
How your TWO Birth Plans work together
Let’s stick to the above example. If you don’t want pain relief then you need to cope with pain which can be very intense.
No one … not your partner, doctor, staff or midwife wants to see you suffer. And you don’t want to find yourself asking for pain relief because you LACK skills to cope and manage then find yourself months after your birth feeling like a whimp who gave in.
Your conventional Birth Plan will mention that you don’t want pain relief. In your Skills-based Birth Plan NAME the skills you’ve learned and are going to use. Those skills must be OBSERVABLE by others!
In other words, if you use skills successfully then everyone with you will see that in your behavior.
Here’s another example. If you want to be upright, how do you know whether that position is the one your baby likes? In other words, you might want to walk but what if (for YOUR BODY) walking closes the space inside your body and your baby’s ability to come down, through and out is hindered?
The Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation course will teach you all the skills families used successfully.
There are so many things you want and don’t want in your birth. Your jobs as a mother and father-to-be is to become skilled to birth your baby no matter what you want and don’t want and no matter how your birth unfolds.
Your job as a birth partner is equally important as the role of the birthing woman. That might sound weird. The woman is ‘doing’ the birth which will happen whether she’s alone or with you.
It’s absolutely essential every birthing woman become skilled. However, if you are going to be at the birth then you absolutely must SHARE A SET OF SKILLS.
Your job is to help the woman cope with the natural occurring pain of contractions by seeing and hearing her response to internalized sensations and guiding her immediately if she begins to feel out of control.
Your job for a planned non-laboring Casarean is to help her cope with the anxiety of major surgery. Use your skills on the drive to hospital, while she’s being prepped and during surgery. Your partner wants to totally feel involved. Without skills it’s too easy to get disconnected.
Birth partners are not meant to be hung on for hours or just to rub a back or wipe a brow when you’re moaning away. Giving birth is a team effort and both of you need to explain your skills in your Skills-based Birth Plan very specifically. Then use your skills to show your doctor, midwife and doula that skilled couples work well in every birth situation that happens on the day your baby is born.
Skills-based Birth Plan is your ‘cheat sheet’
Your Skills-based Birth Plan can be very simple and be a list of skills you’re learning. Then you can just read that list and use the ones that work best at any moment.
For example IN LABOR:
‘These are the skills my husband and I bring to our birth:
- Directed Breathing
- The Pelvic Clock
- Internal Work
- Knowing how to stay open
- What positions make labour contractions effective
- We have developed team work around a shared set of birth skills and have prepared my pregnant body to stay open and relaxed to assist our baby’s descent.
- Together we will work with our baby’s efforts to be born and will happily use our skills in whatever situation we find ourselves.
- We know that our role during our baby’s birth is to use our skills to cope with the natural occurring pain during contractions and to work along side whatever assessments, monitoring and procedures make sense that day.
As a BIRTH PROVIDER you will see a woman who uses her birth skills to cope well with labour and a father who really knows how to see and hear when he should help and knows what skills are needed at the time.’
For example: PLANNED NON-LABORING CAESAREAN
Your Skills-based Birth Plan can sound like this:
‘We are preparing for the birth of our child in the same way we would prepare for a vaginal delivery. We are learning birth skills that we’ll use during surgery and recovery and to work with our baby’s assisted efforts to be born.’
A Skills-based Birth Plan for every birth
You see the Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Course has always been used by families having EVERY IMAGINABLE BIRTH! Birth is more about what we do than what others can do for us.
While a conventional Birth Plan may be based on imagination, wishful thinking, anger or ideology, your Skills-based Birth Plan grounds you in the reality of what you are going to do and how you are going to behave.
Your Skills-based Birth Plan empowers your own actions and doesn’t rely on others giving you the birth you hope for. Birth and birth coaching skills become the foundation for how you experience your baby’s birth.
Dive into Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Course by clicking on each of the links below. All Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation skills were developed by hundreds of mothers and fathers and used in absolutely EVERY type of birth.
Regardless of how your Birth Plans unfold both of you can have the right skills to work together through your baby’s birth journey.