Monday, March 10

Birth plan - realistic or nonsense?

Since beginning my third trimester, I've been trying to prepare more and more for the baby. Having a written birth plan upon arrival at the hospital seems to be all the rage these days, but it just doesn't seem realistic to me...

Here's my birth plan so far:
  • Soothing music - check.
  • Baby out within five minutes of first contraction - check.
  • Nothing rips or tears - check
  • No odd or embarrassing bodily fluids leave my body - check.
Deep down, I just don't believe labor is an experience one can really plan out. Type A mothers-to-be must have invented the "necessity" of a birth plan (not that I haven't be labeled type A, but I have parameters). It seems to be out of my hands how this miraculous process will flow, and I'd hate to set myself up for failure or disappointment.

Where does one even begin a birth plan? Yes, I want it to go well and smoothly ... okay, birth plan is complete. Guess the hospital staff and my midwife are probably looking for something more detailed, huh?

My next appointment with my midwife is this week, and I found a blog post with five questions to ask the doctor before going into labor. Seems like a good way to help me formulate a birth "outline" versus a detailed plan.

Five questions to ask before giving birth:
1. What is your c-section and episiotomy rate? How far past my “due date” can I go?
2. If all is well with mom and baby, do you allow intermittent monitoring (freedom to move around as you please)?
3. May I labor in any position I find comfortable and effective?
4. May I push my baby out in any position I find comfortable and effective?
5. What is your philosophy on birth? If I choose not to take pain medication, are you fully supportive of natural birth? Or do you prefer your patients to have a medicated birth? If I have had a previous cesarean, do you support VBACs?

The following poll about birth plans was posted on If you wrote a birth plan, did it make your labor and delivery a more positive experience?
  • 46% Yes, it helped me get what I wanted.
  • 54% No, it went out the window once the contractions started.
Aha! The ladies are split 50/50 on the importance of a birth plan - thanks for confusing me even more!

Perhaps I should have a few bullet points written down so I'm not completely dumbfounded during the process. also had a handy dandy birth plan checklist where I can select what I would like to include in the special day. This seems like a good way to get started, and I can also bounce it off my midwife - thank goodness for sites like babycenter!


Aunalise said...

Hehehehe. I love your initial plan and it sounds much like mine for your first birth. Take it from someone who is usually prepared for everything (but wasn’t for my first birth), educate yourself and have a thorough birth plan. With my first child I took the hospital birthing class and without even realizing it I had certain expectations as to how the birth would go, but in general I took a lot for granted. I mean women give birth every day right? I really did not have much of a birth plan. I thought the doctors would know when to do what they needed to do it. Well without going into too much detail the entire experience was nothing like the class or anything I had heard of from friends. The result was an unplanned c-section. I feel like, had I educated myself a little more, things might have gone differently. The end result may have still been a c-section but at least I would have felt like I tried absolutely everything to have a satisfying birth experience.

So for this birth I am doing all within my power to have a successful VBAC. Reading books, hiring a doula, finding the right doctor/midwife, yoga, chiropractic care, blah blah blah. One book my doula recommended was Birthing from Within. I just picked it up this weekend, so I can't give a personal review because I am only a few chapters in but you might want to check it out. Another one on my list but have not gotten to it yet is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. It sounds like based on some of your list of questions you have already starting looking at the right stuff. Good luck.

Yoga Mama said...

Thanks for all the info! I just placed a hold on Birthing from Within at the library - the other wasn't available.

I thought about having a doula but didn't know where to begin on locating one. How did you find yours?

I'm assuming you saw the prenatal yoga workshop is canceled - I'm bummed about it, but I don't want to bring anybody into a potentially harmful environment. I need to dedicate a post to a prenatal yoga practice! I keep posting about my nesting habits - hee hee.

Keep in bloggy touch.

Heather said...

Hey chica! I'd say I definitely fall into the group thats birth plans flew out the window! After two weeks of bed rest I was sent straight to the hospital -- thong maternity undies and all! Not pretty with a backless gown! So my advice... plan everything you need to plan so you feel confidant and know that it might all go out the window. Ooooh, and don't wear thong panties to your doc appointments!

Hope you can make it to book club in April! I want to see this adorable bump!


Aunalise said...

I met our doula when I attended a meeting put on by the local ICAN group on the importance of a doula during the birthing process. Plus I had heard though the grapevine that she was great. Her website is There are some other links to doula information in the KC area on her website. I have heard finding a doula that works with you and your partner’s personality is really important. So interview a few. If you go to this site and use the purple find a doula tool on the left you can search for those in your area (I have met Tara as well and she seems to be really sweet). There is also a list of helpful questions on this site to ask during an interview.

For our fist birth we did not have one, because I did not want to hurt my husbands feelings by making him feel left out. I realized about and hour into labor that he was not a birthing coach and it was a lot to expect him to be. I mean he was very supportive and did whatever I asked him to do but we both had no idea what we needed to do. When I mentioned hire a doula this time around he was very apprehensive, but after I took him to the ICAN meeting he said, "So when are we hiring one?" and "Why didn’t we do this last time?"

I saw that the prenatal yoga workshop is canceled and was bummed also, but I completely understand. I have two friends that are pregnant but have not done yoga, so I was going to drag them with me. ;o) I wonder if one of the other Y's would let you host the workshop at their location? The Y at Platte County Community Center South has a very nice yoga studio and equipment. The Vivion Road Family YMCA does yoga in the gym so it is a little lacking in the atmosphere and does not have things like blocks and other equipment. :) I don’t know anything about the other locations.

Brenda Plakans said...

Educate yourself, but prepare to be unprepared. First time around I had very strong feeling about no meds, how yoga breath was going to do all the work etc. After my first few really rough contractions, I asked for the I.V. As it turned out, the anesthesiologist they called that night wasn't the guy on call, so no one showed up in time to administer an epidural anyway. So, I guess I got what I wanted (and luckily the pushing part was only 17 min.s).

Second time around I never wrote up a plan and I was able to yoga breathe my way thru the whole thing Thankfully, the pushing only lasted 7 min.s. I am very grateful that things went quickly--and I'm sure there were a lot of yucky fluids--and I'm even glad I've been "blessed" with these hips.

So get all your info together and then try to be flexible with whatever comes up (how yogi).

Spend lots of time working on your pranayama skills...

Yoga Mama said...

I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as thong maternity undies... WOW! That cracked me up! I definitely need to start packing the overnight bag! LOL!

Thanks for all the doula information - I will definitely check it out.

Very yogic advice - much appreciated. Do you recommend any specific pranayama? I actually just bought the book "Breathe your way through Birth with yoga" so hope it gives me some guidance and strength.

Thanks again ladies for all the feedback!! My next appointment with my midwife is Thursday and I feel much more prepared to ask questions.

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