Let’s chat birth planning. Most birth plans often end up being fine print documents your birth team will not have time to read nor follow.
There are hundreds of birth plan generators out there and many of them ask fantastic, thought-provoking questions. The trouble is they produce a dictionary length document that NASA could barely interpret, let alone your birth team.
Ask anyone who has passed along a four-page list of demands to even the most well-intentioned provider, and you’ll likely hear something about it being left on a tray in the corner somewhere.
The bottom line is birth plans must be easy to follow to prove valuable and effective.
“So how do I write a birth plan my provider will actually use?” So glad you asked!
Let’s start by looking at your core birth values and determining what is most important to you.
Take some time to visualize your ideal birth. Assuming all is progressing and mom and baby are both doing well, what are you hoping your birth will feel like?
- Is your highest goal to have a completely natural birth?
- Are you all about immediate skin to skin contact and some sweet family time before exams?
- Do you want your partner to catch your baby?
- Do you want your provider (doctor or midwife) to run the show entirely?
- Would you like time for you and your partner to bond with your baby after birth?
When you’ve got a sense of what you’re looking for, the next step is to discover your WHY.
Enter the ‘Three Layers of Why’…
For every preference you add to your birth plan, you should have at least three layers of understanding behind your decision making. Let me explain.
Lots of sources shape our ideas about birth.
The idea that you’ll know you’re in labor when your water breaks and you spontaneously start screaming in pain (which is the case for a very small percentage of women), probably came from Hollywood’s definition of the onset of labor.
The idea that birth is always terribly painful may have come from the story of a friend of a friend who had a tough experience and has processed that experience with every pregnant woman she has seen since.
The idea that you have to have a completely natural birth or a planned cesarean or a lotus birth or *insert any variation on the experience of birth,* otherwise you will have failed your child came from somewhere…
… The thing is, unless these ideas are founded in a reality YOU actually care about, they are not serving you.
To determine what you actually care about, you’ll need to do some digging and find the source of your expectations. Ideas founded on someone else’s experience will inevitably lead to disappointment. But making up your own mind about what you want will help you experience peace throughout your labor and birth experience.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the perfect time to take a few minutes to write down the answers to the questions we discussed a bit ago.
As you answer, think through those three layers of WHY: Ask yourself what is actually important to you and your family and why?
Pay attention to how you feel as you answer these questions: Are you at peace? Experiencing anxiety? Feeling confused?
Identify your feelings along the way and write them down. If you’re feeling nervous or worried, explore those feelings. If you’re uncovering a lot of fear or anxiety, discuss your feelings with your partner or a trusted friend; this could help bring things to the surface.
Feel like you’re ready to get planning? Remember these quick tips as you get pen to paper:
Pro Tip #1: Your birth plan needs to fit on one piece of paper & should convey your core values at a glance.
Pro Tip #2: Ask to discuss your plan with your provider at least four weeks prior to your due date.
Pro Tip #3: Check those expectations at the door!
Lastly, I know planning your birth can feel tough. Whether you purchase Created For’s digital course, Birthing Bravely Academy; or sign up for any Birthing Bravely Private Coaching package, you will receive Created For’s Ultimate Birth Planning Guide. This guide includes customizable templates for multiple birth scenarios along with customized images to add to your plan. This will equip you with a plan you feel conveys your needs clearly and will offer your provider a simple birth plan they can actually use!
My hope in creating this guide is that it will help you identify what’s most important to your family & convey that message to your birth team both clearly and effectively.
Whether you move forward with the course or private coaching or not, I hope you’ll take the time to understand what YOU’RE hoping for.
Understanding your expectations will give you advantage over fear and may help you relax and surrender to the process.