The idea of birth plans is currently in vogue, maternity hospitals have special appointments to discuss your perceived birth plan. Expectant mothers are asked to write a birth plan - state their desired method, pain relief and outcome.
I have always questioned the logic of such an idea. However, over the last years of speaking with women who have given birth and those about to, I constantly ask myself and women the question – how can you plan your baby’s birth? Reality is that you can go into the whole experience thinking optimistically and hoping for the best however, the actual labour and birth is outside your control. It is not something that you can control. Your body takes over when labour begins and the type of labour and birth that you experience has nothing to do with your desire, best thoughts, prayers or level of fitness. Numerous studies have shown that, fitness, health and genetics have not influenced of the length of labour, difficultly of labour and birth experience, yet pregnancy magazine are often encouraging birth plans as essential.
What actually happens is that due to women’s birth plans, they then feel immense pressure to whether they actually achieved their plan or not. If the labour and birth does not go to plan women feel as though they have failed. Failed to do what they should be able to, failed to meet their own expectations, failed to meet their husbands’ expectations and failed to do what other women have so easily done. They wonder and have tried to figure out what they did wrong when really they did nothing as labour and birth is out of their control.
Women and men need to expect that birth will take its course. Nature will take over and it will be like nothing they have ever experienced, but not something to be scared of. Have faith that your body will do what it needs to and the only plan women need is to be able to cope with what they have to at the time. The best thing is to take it step by step and listen to their midwife or doctor. Do what they need you to do. Plan to go with the flow. This can be disconcerting when we live in a world where we are encouraged to control every aspect however; this is one area we cannot control. Be positive yes, be prepared yes, but the outcome does not determine who is more deserving, or who did it right or wrong.