Why I’m Not Writing A Birth Plan

Natalie Preddie has given up trying to control the uncontrollable

There are a lot of articles out there on the importance of writing a birth plan. A birth plan includes every step of the labour process from when the pain starts to the final arrival of the baby. Early in my pregnancy, I was keen to have a plan laid out that covered every detail of birthing. I toyed with every option: OB/GYN or Midwife? Home, hospital or birthing centre? Pain relief or all natural? Birthing ball or stool? Tub or shower?

Eventually, I decided to not write a birth plan. After hearing many birth stories and seeing how they varied, I knew that I could not plan every detail of such a complicated process. Although I may want to have a natural labour, when overwhelmed by pain, I may decide that I want that epidural.  I could need a C-Section or forceps or a vacuum to get the baby out. There are many decisions that contribute the birth of a healthy baby and many of them are ‘game-time calls.’ With so many possible scenarios, I didn’t want to add the additional stress of attempting to control an uncontrollable situation with a detailed birth plan.

That being said, here are a few major birth plan decisions that I made to ensure the happy and healthy delivery of my son:

OB/GYN or Midwife?

This was a tough decision for me. Our OB helped us conceive and the thought of having him deliver our little miracle seemed like a perfect finale to our time together. However, as a successful OB, our doctor’s office was always packed and it felt like our appointment times were limited. I felt guilty taking up his precious minutes and the experience felt somewhat clinical. My major concern was that he may not be on call when we went into labour and therefore, not the doctor who delivered our baby.

While I am grateful for our OB, my decision to switch to a midwife made such a difference to my entire pregnancy. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. Every appointment is like meeting with a very knowledgeable friend who supports my husband, our growing baby and me. She gives me information to make my own decisions and provides options based on my specific needs. My midwife makes me feel relaxed and confident in my ability to get through labour. The midwife will also give me six weeks post-natal support and I have a direct line to her for questions, concerns, and fears. I look forward to having her by my side when the big day arrives.

Home, Hospital or Birthing Centre?

This was less of a debate for me. My closest birthing center is on the other side of the city and I wanted to give birth close to home. The thought of being in a car for an extended period of time during labour did not appeal to me.

So why not give birth at home? Although this is a perfectly safe way to give birth, my ‘risk mitigating’ pregnant-self decided that home was not the best option…just in case. Should something happen, I want to be close to emergency care. Also, I’m pretty sure my dog would bark all the way through a home labour.

By process of elimination, this means hospital and I am happy with that decision. I will have my husband and midwife by my side, and as long as everything goes well, we will be home within hours. Should we need any additional care, pain relief, birthing stools or showers, we will have those options available there too.

Post Delivery Care

After my interview with two doctors on the importance of skin-to-skin post childbirth, I have decided that this is a must for me. With proven benefits such as a more stable heart rate, improved oxygen levels, more stable body temperature, improved pain tolerance (relieves pain by 30%), improved sleep, faster weight gain and healthier brain development, it only made sense to insist on skin-to-skin contact with my baby.

I want this immediately after he is delivered, before bathing or shots or any other additional post birth routines. This instant contact is the only detail that I insist on.

This is also something my midwife supports and would suggest as a post delivery practice.

All of these decisions are personal: They are not right or wrong but they are mine. For some people, writing a birth plan is a helpful, effective tool and for others, ignorance is bliss. For me, I am happy to wing it with only a few stipulations for my baby and me. Whatever you choose for the birth of your baby will be perfect for you and your little one. 

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