Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Having a plan...

Birth plans are tricky, most people either love them or hate them. The people that hate them usually say that birth plans are only for naive first time moms who don't understand how unpredictable child birth can be. I also hear people say that having a birth plan means you are a high-maintainance patient and difficult to work with and you should just relax and trust your doctors. All of this makes good sense in theory,  until you think a little more about it...
Firstly,  all aspects of life are unpredictable, but since when has that been reason enough for us to not plan ahead? We still make plans for the future, we hope things work out that way, and we even have back up plans and contingency plans.  We never say 'oh life is too unpredictable so I wont be making any plans... ever.  So I fail to see how having a birth plan is any different from any other plan you might make in life.
Secondly trusting your doctors is important, no doubt about it, but it doesn't have to be blind trust.  Being a 'good' patient shouldn't require you to be ignorant on the important decisions you will have to make during child birth. A good doctor will encourage you to be well informed on your birth options and will welcome any questions or input you may have.

In the very beginning of my pregnancy, I liked the idea of having a plan,but I didn't see the point of putting it down on paper. But as I heard other people's experiences, it started to make more sense. It's pretty much the same principle that applies with making a shopping list when you are heading out to the grocery store. You might remember everything without the list,but it sure does help if you have it written down. Not to mention how helpful it is when the nurses in the labor ward switch shift and you suddenly have to explain everything all over again to the new nurses that just started their shift.

A good birth plan should be short and concise, highlighting the important areas rather than every tiny detail. Preferences like lighting or music don't really need to be on there since those are easy to control yourself. Personally, I believe that anything more than one page is too long, I know a lot of baby sites will give you a template to fill out which is several page long but honestly  no one in Labor & Delivery has the time to read through all that. If you really want someone to take it seriously its best to get to the point. Most importantly,  a good birth plan should have already been discussed with your doctor ahead of time.

My birth plan had the following information;

The basics such as my name, myhusband's name, doctors name etc. I put this information on there so that in case some of the medical staff took the paper out of my room they would still know it was mine.

My preferences in each area of the birth process:
  • Birth type : Natural birth;Vaginal delivery preffered
  • Labor augmentation: None
  • Pain medication: None
  • Fetal monitoring: Only when necessary
  • C-section: Only as an absolute last resort
  • During labor I would prefer to be; mobile, no IV's conected, able to shower
  • During birth I would like to pushing in different positions
  • No episiotomy
  • No use of forceps or vacuum
  • After birth: immediate skin-to-skin contact if possible

Ultimately I was induced and my birth plan lay untouched in  my hospital bag the entire 5 days that I stayed in the hospital, but I don't regret having it as I gained a lot of information while I was putting it together.

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