Why it is important to keep an open mind about your birth plan

25 Aug Why it is important to keep an open mind about your birth plan

Pregnant women in Canada have been encouraged to make a birth
for over two decades. In her birth plan a woman is supposed to
state her wants, wishes and preferences regarding any interventions during
labour and birth. Many women choose to make a plan that is natural and avoids
any intervention including pain management. Indeed, many women give birth with
minimal intervention. However, for many other women, labour and birth develop
in a way which either necessitates an intervention like a c-section or they may
find that they cannot tolerate the pain and they end up asking for an
epidural.  In my practice I often see
women who are disappointed with themselves, feel that they have failed
themselves and/or their baby or feel they have been robbed of the experience of
a natural birth. I find that the more rigid the plan was and the more
determined a woman was to follow through with her plan, the harder it is for
her to come to terms with the way she ended up having her baby if it was
anything but intervention-free. While I support the idea of a birth plan,
allowing women to have choices in their own care, I encourage pregnant women to
be flexible and to keep an open mind about the birth. After all, a pregnant
woman making her birth plan is unable to foresee or control how her baby is
going to “collaborate” in the process of labour and birth. It may also be hard
for a woman who is giving birth for the first time to predict how painful the
contractions are going to be and how well she would tolerate the pain. Neither
can a woman foresee complications like the baby’s distress or her own blood
pressure jumping to a dangerously high level. My advice to pregnant women: Make
a birth plan but think of it as a rough draft. The final version is going to be
written together with your baby, in real time. Happy birthing!