Do I Need a Birth Plan?
As a doula, my answer is yes, but not for the reason you might think. At Bell House, we definitely encourage our clients to create a birth plan with their partner so we can use it as a learning opportunity and break down communication barriers. Most of them are pleasantly surprised to learn that most of what they would put on their plan is already standard of care at their hospital of choice.
How do I keep my birth plan?
Well this may sound crazy, but you don’t actually HAVE to stick to your birth plan. A birth guide is a much better word for what you should be creating. Having a professional birth doula by your side will always keep you feeling supported and heard. She will guide you and your partner to ask the right questions, and help you navigate options as things come up. This will help you keep as close to your plan as possible.
How do I write my birth plan?
When you begin creating a guide or plan, think about what your main objective is. Is your main goal to be meds free, or is it to simply be heard and supported by your birth team? Focus on this goal with your birth team as you write your guide in order to talk to them about it. Birth plans can be very short and sweet, and if you have a birth team you trust, writing a short plan will be easy.
Who should get my birth plan?
Your birth team are the most important people to have your plan. This mainly includes your partner and your provider. Your partner and your provider’s job is to keep you safe and help you make decisions as you are laboring. You can have trouble processing information and making choices and having previously discussed your birth plan will help them make choices with or for you. If you have a doula, she would also have read your plan and act as your partner’s sounding board. She can help your partner ask questions and understand what’s happening, especially if an emergency arises and things are happening quickly.
How do I find out my options?
Talk to your birth team. Your providers, your nurses, and your doula are there to answer questions and let you know your options. The acronym we remind our clients to follow is B.R.A.I.N.:
B – Benefits: What are the benefits of making this decision?
R – Risks: What are the risks involved?
A – Alternatives: Are there any alternatives?
I – Intuition: What does my gut say about this?
N – Nothing: What if we do nothing or wait it out?
Ask your birth team and yourself these questions when decisions need to be made. This will help you keep as close to your birth plan as possible, while allowing you to be flexible and stay an active participant in your healthcare. No matter what happens, knowing you were heard and supported will make your birth experience better all around. Because it’s not just about a healthy baby, it’s also about your experience and your health too. Because you are so very important.