What’s the Deal with Birth Plans?

Whether you are a woman or not, odds are you’ve heard of the term “birth plan”. What’s the deal with this thing?

A birth plan is a document that an expectant mother prepares for her birth team – doctors, midwives, nurses – that lists what she desires for her birth experience.

This sounds like a great thing, right? What an awesome tool to have for my team! They will surely appreciate this, and things will be perfect! Right?

Well, here is the truth. Coming from a doctor that I work with, and whom I adore and respect, a birth plan is not always taken seriously. Okay, I know that sounds horrible. Not taken seriously? UGH! What do you mean?! What she told me, is that she sees a lot of women who are so focused on things that they don’t want, that it kind of takes control of the plan itself. These patients often have harder times accepting any changes – even if they are necessary. She says that when her patients come to her and say that they have a birth plan, she will say “That’s great! Mind if I take a look?” And then she will tell them exactly how she and other Labor and Delivery staff feel about them.

“The fact of the matter is, we don’t care what you don’t want! Who told you that we were going to force you to do things that you don’t want?!” She gives her input, but ultimately lets the patient and her spouse decide. “Look, sometimes people in the L & D department do not take birth plans too seriously. Nurses and doctors see them and think, oh this person absolutely wants all of these things, so they are going to be unwilling to accept any other options.”

The inconvenient truth about birth plans is that they really are not always welcome by hospital staff. And that really sucks. Women who show up in labor and delivery with a birth plan, are unknowingly labeled by the staff when they show up with a birth plan, as “walking cesareans”. Sadly the label is often a curse and well intentioned women hoping to see their birth plan come true have the opposite experience of what they had desired.

This stigma is developed because it is stereotyped that these women who have these perfect, very strict birth plans are unwilling to accept any changes in the plan at all. What if something changes? That doesn’t necessarily mean in a bad way though. What if you decide that you do want some intervention? You should not feel guilty for that, just because your birth plan says otherwise.

Let’s try to make your birth plan more relaxed. More open. More personal. Let me help you write a birth plan that is just for you and your partner. One that is near and dear to you. We can talk about every single option, and go over all the details about that one! Which will benefit everyone involved. The more information you have, the better you will feel.

Look, here is the thing. YOU are going to do what you believe, what you want, and there is nothing or no one who is going to stop you! And they shouldn’t! It is my job as a medical professional to provide you with information that is beneficial for you. It is also my job as a doula to listen to you, and help you with whatever you would like me to. Let’s write your birth plan together. I can give you some tips on how to write the plan in a short sweet manner. We can also leave it open for adding. But most importantly we are going to make it exactly what you want. Something that you can keep with you, and memorize. Let me listen to your thoughts and desires, and do whatever I can to provide you with as much information that I can!

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