Tell me, how many birth plans have you heard of that have actually gone to plan?None? I thought so.
A birth plan is something that is heavily encouraged from around 20+ of pregnancy. At every antinatel appointment, your midwife will no doubt thrust upon you the importance of a birth plan, questioning how far along with it you are and shoving a billion leaflets about it into your bag for you to read at home.
She’ll go through all your options from pain relief to birth positions and basically you choose how you would like to give birth.
However, the birth plan is the biggest most bullshit thing ever. Ultimately, it’s just a bunch of notes that describe your dream birth that has a 1% probability of coming true. A lovely thing to keep if you plan on writing a “Dream Birth” book but at the end of the day it really is just a complete waste of time and unnecessary stress, especially for first timers.
I was 16 when I got pregnant with my first, so birth plans were new to me. I had everything set out and actually believed that was how my birth would go. We’d be in the hospital, having a water birth, different positions with gas and air moving on to pethadine if I couldn’t hack it.
4. Myths, BUSTED!
1) I was told to expect a long labour seeing as this baby is my first. Anything from 24-48hrs would be considered normal (hence, I wrote my birth plan for that situation) turns out it’s also possible to labour and birth a baby in less than 2 hours, including your first. And that’s what I did. There was no water pool, no pethadine and only one position; on my back. By the time I got to the hospital there was no time for fancy-nancys, I was already fully dialated and pushing the baby out. Goodbye birth plan.
2) Your 2nd is always quicker. It was encouraged that because I had an epically quick first baby the second was likely to come quicker so a home birth would be more suitable (I might not make it to the hospital in time) and so a birth plan was worked around that. Again, bullshit. My waters tore 4 weeks before my due date and so I had to go to hospital to be induced. Again I wanted petadine, lots of positions etc but I got sweat Fuck All. Instead, he popped out in under two hours after the labour had officially started.
3) No two births are the same.
Oh yes they bloody are! Well incredibly similar anyway. By now it was evident that I tend to give birth pretty quick but no one expected a near carbon copy of my first birth. Things that were the same included; the time, both labours started at around 8:05am, both were born at 10:07am, they both weighed 7lb 6oz, both in the exact same room, on the same day and very nearly the same date: Ellie the 21st Jan Charlie the 20th Jan. Giving birth to Charlie was exactly like giving birth to Ellie; fully dilated and pushing by the time we got to hospital, no pain relief, one position, super bloody quick. For Charlie, I didn’t even bother with a birth plan.
4) c-sections are only for emergencies or those too posh to push.
Never did I once, even for a moment think I’d ever need a c-section unless it was an emergency and I certainly would never have chose to have one. They scared the wits outta me and it was the very last thing I wanted. After birthing three babies naturally, I never imagined a c-section would be necessary. It turns out however, that some babies can be a total pain in the arse when it comes to their positioning. And being breech is cause for a c-section. Yet again, it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d made a birth plan because, even the forth time around it still wasn’t going to happen.
I’m not going to be having any more babies however, when people ask me what my opinions on birth plans are I’m always honest: they are a bullshit waste of time. Literally nothing is guaranteed when you’re giving birth so although it might be nice to write down what you’d like to happen I’d take no notice of it and expect everything except what you’ve wrote. The main thing, and the important thing is that you and you’re baby are safe, so just go with it. Trust me, even your choice of hospital or birthing centre isn’t set in stone, anything can happen at any point that will change the course of even the best laid plans.
So many people feel like they missed out on the birth they wanted because nothing happened like how they’d planned it and that is a real shame. It’s great to be prepared an all but surely the best way to be prepared is to expect the unexpected and never rely too much on your birth plan as your expectations for the birth.
Realistically, you can’t plan any birth, nature has its own way whether you like it or not.
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