How Important is it to Have a Birth Plan? - Amanda Hilton
How Important is it to Have a Birth Plan?
Amanda Hilton / July 2019

What does your ideal birth look like?

Some people see birth as a natural process and feel comfortable having an intervention-free homebirth. Perhaps they have had an uncomplicated pregnancy, are close enough to a hospital just-in-case, or they have a midwife instead of an OB-GYN.

Others view birth as scary or painful and absolutely require an epidural and a hospital to achieve a successful ideal birth scenario. Maybe they have had complications throughout their pregnancy and won't be able to achieve their ideal birth.

Each person identifies with a birth experience differently and each birth is unique.

So what is the deal with a birth plan?

Is it really worth the time/energy/effort to put together a birth plan when you might not actually get a chance to put it into action?

Some individuals think birth plans are amazing. It gives them the opportunity to view their options and maybe even explore some ideas that they didn't know were possible to experience during birth. If you are anything like me, you just love having things written down on paper in front of you to make you feel more organized.

Other people feel it is just a waste and birth is going to happen however it happens (perhaps in the backseat of the car...lets hope not!).

A doula can help you build your birth plan if it is something you feel you need to help plan for your birthing journey. And if you choose not to create a plan, a doula can also support you in flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. That's what we do.... support YOUR decisions!

What happens when your ideal birth plan doesn't go as planned?

And this DOES happen. If you envision yourself having a natural, medication-free hospital birth, with a midwife and your partner by your side, but things take a turn and next thing your know an episiotomy is happening and your planned delayed cord clamping in NOT an option. What next? Perhaps an unplanned caesarean needs to happen. How do you deal?

I'd love to say that it is a walk in the park and you will get over it at first sight of your baby but... this is not always the case. With all your hormones still raging from doing an amazing job birthing your baby (anyway that it happens... you did it!), sometimes your feelings can be overpowering. After an unplanned caesarean, some people feel like they didn't actually birth their baby because it didn't go as planned. A baby did not make it's way down the birthing canal and exit through the vagina. Neither vaginal birth nor caesarean birth are unequal means of birthing a baby. And it is heart-breaking to experience people feeling otherwise.

In my personal journey, I had planned a natural homebirth with my midwife present. We ended up needing to be induced at the hospital and things got complicated near the end. I had an episiotomy, my baby's heartrate became a concern and he needed to come out immediately. I had no clue what was going on. It was no longer me, my partner and my midwife in the room. In 0.5 seconds it went to me, my partner, two midwives, 2 OB-GYNs, and 5 neo-natal nurses in my room. It felt scary and confusing and was NOT AT ALL what I had planned for this birth. Even thought my baby ended up being perfectly ok and all-in-all so was I, it took me a really long time to work through my feelings about this experience and "get over it" (3 years and a homebirth that actually went according to plan, to be exact).

So, it does happen. We make plans, sometimes they go as planned, sometimes there are bumps in the road, sometimes we are lead down a completely different path and it takes time to get back to where we intended to be.

If making a birth plan helps you to feel organized... go for it! If you would rather experience birth helter-skelter… do that! It is entirely up to you! It is your journey, it is your experience, make it what you want it to be.

Feel free to message me if you have any questions about creating a birthing plan.