Post # 1
I’ve seen plenty of debate about the whole writing-a-detailed-birth-plan thing. A lot of people seem to roll their eyes at the notion of writing up a 2+ page extremely detailed birth plan — you know, the kind that specifies everything from desire for pain medication to the level of lighting preferred in the room. The eye-rollers seem to believe that since you can’t possibly control everything that happens once you go into labor, it’s ridiculous to even pretend that you can by writing such a detailed plan. It’s considered kind of naive and almost adorable, but in the end a complete waste of time and effort.
I was one of those people who walked up into the hospital with a super detailed birth plan. It covered everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Those of you who are familiar with my birth story (hello vaganus!) know that a lot of things didn’t go quite according to plan for me. They were great for a while, but then at the end everything turned to chaos and a lot of what I wanted didn’t end up happening. BUT — I am still SUPER GLAD that I had that detailed birth plan. Because even though there were things that didn’t end up working out, there were also things that could have turned out far differently/worse if I hadn’t brought in my two-pager.
So: for those who wrote detailed birth plans (or didn’t!), are you glad you did? What parts were you most happy to have included? What didn’t go according to plan, and were you upset about it or okay with it? If you could have gone back and done it again, would you change anything? I’ll fill in my own info in a bit.
Post # 2
I didn’t write anything out, but I had stuff in mind. I ended up having a c-section since DD was breech, so I never went through labor. I just rolled with it and if there was something I wanted I asked. The nurses thanked me all the time for being so laid back.
Post # 3
I’ll have to get back to you to see if I regret not having more details in my birthplan other than “give me an epidural and make sure baby and I are alive by the end of this.” To be fair, my aunt is an OBGYN labor and delivery nurse for over 30 years and she’s going to be there with me so I sort of don’t feel like I need to worry about not getting proper care or things not being done correctly or for the best interest of me and the baby and mostly done for their convenience.
So I guess my birth plan is more BYON (bring your own nurse!)
Post # 4
No detailed plan here. I was pregnant with twins and since one of them was breeched I pretty much knew a C-section was the plan. I’m a go with the flow type of person but also I know that if I wrote a plan out details and all it would cause ME stress if it didn’t go as planned. So in my mind no plan meant less stress. I know it would drive others crazy to not have a plan and therefore having a plan would actually be a comfort to them even if they knew that the plan couldn’t go as planned. I think I should just say the word ‘plan’ just one more time.
Post # 5
iarebridezilla: I’m not a mother and don’t plan on being one for a while! However; I know there are a lot of nurses on these boards and I would be interested to see how they/hospital staff generally react to very detailed birth plan!
FWIW, I don’t have a formulated opinion on this and probably won’t until the time comes. I think anything you can do to be as prepared as possible is always good, but being flexible also goes a long way. As long as the mother to be understands that ultimately the doctors are the professionals and that even the best laid plans sometimes don’t pan out, everything should be fine.
Post # 6
I work in health care (though not in OB) and I would say that detailed plans are just fine as long as you go in with the expectation that it is likely that not everything will go according to your plan. You have to be able to adapt to circumstances.
My experience with really detailed birth plans is generally when the baby has some sort of very serious genetic condition and isn’t expected to live long after delivery. In these cases many of the medical things (getting measurements, eye drops, etc) are skipped over in favor of getting the baby to parents as quickly as possible and letting them do the parenting things that are most important to them (hold them, read a book, give a bath, rock, sing, etc.).
Post # 7
the_newlymintedmrs-s17: I wonder if it makes a difference what kind of birth you’re planning … I mean it makes sense to me to think that a natural birth would have more requirements to it, since it’s so important to control your state of mind if you’re trying to get through all that without pain meds. Stuff like lighting and noise level and so on might seem more important then! I wonder if I should add that to the poll? Probably too complicated, haha.
Hippos: if making a plan wouldn’t help you relax, then it’s definitely not the right move!! I felt great knowing that everyone around me already knew what I wanted, so I didn’t have to worry about advocating for myself during those times when it became really hard to do that. So for me, having the plan was a good call. But I completely get where you’re coming from.
Post # 8
I didn’t have anything written out, but I did have a few things that I hoped for when the nurse asked if I had a birth plan. I wanted to make it to 4 cm before my epidural, I wanted to avoid episiotomy, and I wanted skin to skin ASAP. I was able to have all of those things despite the fact that DD was born with the cord around her neck and the peds team had to come in stat. I’m glad I didn’t have a detailed birth plan.
Post # 9
As for my own experience:
At first, we stuck to the plan and it was great. Intermittent fetal monitoring, I was able to move around, nobody mentioned epidurals because I didn’t want one, the lights were low and we were pretty much left alone, etc.
Then things went a little haywire during the actual birth, and I ended up abandoning my plan — I pushed while lying on my back, I had an episiotomy, and then no immediate skin to skin and no delayed cord clamping because baby was delivered via vacuum and needed to be checked by the pediatric team immediately. In the end, I’m not worried that I didn’t get to do these things, as of course the health of the baby was most important.
But the most CRITICAL thing that I’m glad I included was about pitocin after delivery. It is still standard at the hospital where I delivered for women to receive a pitocin injection immediately after baby is born, to help the placenta be delivered and help the uterus contract back down quickly with minimal blood loss. But for women who have labored naturally without interventions, this sudden shot of pitocin (which your body isn’t used to at all since it wasn’t used during labor) can make the after-labor contractions even more painful than the ones that came during labor! So I did NOT want that shot unless I was actively hemhorraging, and included that request in my birth plan. Well lo and behold, as the nurse came at me with the pitocin shot after DD was born, my doula and the midwife both practically tackled her (not really, but y’know, drama) to keep her from giving it to me. If I hadn’t had my detailed birth plan, I could have spent those first few hours of DD’s life in unparalleled agony. No thanks!!!
Post # 10
I wrote one out, but didn’t actually bring it with me to the hospital..It was more of a mental thing for me to write it out.
My hospital basically goes over all of your “desires” pre-labour anyways. they asked if I wanted to be offered drugs, who I wanted in the room, etc.
Post # 11
JenGirl: exactly — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a detailed birth plan as long as you know (and are okay with the fact) that things can and will deviate from the plan. I just hate the assumption that anyone who writes a detailed plan is some kind of birth nazi who is going to make life hell for everyone working at the hospital. Not so! I just felt better being prepared and knowing that everyone taking care of me was on the same page about what I wanted.
Post # 12
I am 23 weeks along and my husband and I are preparing for an unmedicated vaginal birth.
I am a pretty experienced runner and I’ve ran in over 50 races. I compare a lot of things to running and racing because in my mind it makes sense. When it comes to race day, you have to be prepared for ANYTHING, regardless of how many long runs you’ve done in the most perfect weather and while feeling your best, you have to be ready for running in cold, rainy, foggy weather.
Essentially, you can plan all you want, but it’s best to go into any big feat with a go with the flow attitude just in case something needs to be readjusted. So, I will probably write out a plan for my own mental preparation to make sure I cover the things that are most important to me.
I don’t want medication unless the baby is in danger. I would like to play the same type of meditational/therapeutic music you would hear in a day spa or in my yoga class. If it’s during the day, I’d rather have natural lighting through the window. That’s about it. Noise doesn’t bother me. If a doctor or nurse needs light to read my chart, I won’t freak out. I’m not that person.
Like iarebridezilla said, I think it depends on the KIND of birth you’re planning to have. If I’m having a vaginal birth with epidural, no I wouldn’t write a plan. If I’m having a C-section, I think the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff can run that show way better than I can. But if I’ve been training (ANOTHER RUNNING TERM) for this day, then we will try to do things my way because it’s what I’m prepared to do.
Post # 13
iarebridezilla: i did have a detailed plan for my birth. I’m certainly glad i did. The nurses were very respectful, for the most part. I don’t think they felt it made me a “birth nazi” or anything. I think they realized i mostly just wanted to be left alone. I was young (20), and had quite a long labor. After my birth, I felt the nurses went OUT of their way to be supportive of me, and let me know how proud they were. There were nurses who heard about my birth, and just came to chat with me, because they too had a med free birth. I felt so confident and empowered as a young mother.
However, i do think making sure you have the right OB is much more important than a birth plan. My OB was 100% behind my wishes for a med free, no intervention birth. Had i not spoke with him very bluntly prior to the birth, i’m not sure the plan would have been much more than just a paper.
I’m currently pregnant again, and am planning a home birth. There is a guarantee that no birth plan is needed when you are in your own home 🙂
Post # 14
I did not have a detailed birth plan, but I did think about what I wanted prior to the birth.
My water broke but contractions did not begin so DH and I went to the hospital about 16 hours later (the next morning). I had to have pitocin to kick start my labor and it actually wound up being perfect. Before contractions really started up, my midwife and nurse asked if I had a birth plan and I only wanted a few things. These were for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting and allowing DH to cut the cord, immediate skin to skin which the hospital does as policy unless baby or mom are in danger, and having a mirror available to view my progress during pushing (so incredibly helpful!!!). I received everything I asked for. The only thing I knew was not a possibility was intermittant monitoring because I was hooked up to pitocin but they did everything they could for me to be able to stand or use the birth ball or be in any position I wanted.
I’m super happy I was just laid back about the birth and took everything as it came. I would 100% like the birth I experienced again which is all that matters in the end.
Post # 15
With my first child (now 18 months), I did not have a written birth plan. I had discussed my birth plan with my husband and it went very well until at 8cm my son’s heartrate dropped significantly and I needed an emergency c section. I was totally okay with this. The nurses were very impressed with how go with the flow I had been. I had a fantastic recovery and overall good experience.
This time (baby in 5 days OMFG!!) I did write up a birth plan and talked about it with my doctor. It was 95% things that I wanted to be different this time (little things). My doctor was incredibly supportive and found everything that I had asked for to be incredibly reasonable. In her words she said “Don’t worry, I’d tell you if you were being a freak” lol! I may not actually bring the plan with me to the hospital since we should be all set, but we’ll see how I am feeling on Tuesday.
I am happy I discussed this with my doctor, but I know most people do not have the benefit of knowing exactly which doctor will deliver for them and which day. I think a birth plan or at least an outline is good but I think something too detailed may be a little off putting. Being flexible is really helpful and realizing that what you *think* you want is not neccessarily what you are going to want when actually in labor.