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Did You Use a Birth Plan?

By May 27, 2008 - 2:54pm
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I am wondering how many women used a birth plan, or at least prepared a birth plan, during their pregnancy?

Here is a good article about birth plans at the Mayo Clinic:

I had a few ideas in my head about what I did/did not want to happen during my labor and delivery. I never wrote an actual "birth plan" out, as it was not encouraged to do so. I loved the doctors, nurses and educational classes I attended, which encouraged us to know what we want, what our options are, to be well-educated and be equal partners with our health care providers...but that writing a formal plan could be discouraging in the end, as women would then have their heart set on "The Plan", when the woman (and their partner) actually need to be more focused on being flexible than a written plan would allow.

What do you think? Did you use a birth plan? How did it go? How much of "The Plan" was actually followed through? Would you recommend a birth plan to others?

Add a Comment3 Comments

That does sound like a great benefit to a written birth plan...even if it doesn't "make it out of your suitcase", just the mere ACT of writing it means you had to think about what you want/don't want, do your research, talk to your partner and birthing coach and/or doctors about options, etc.

I'm curious, though: why does the term "birth plan" seem analogous to "natural birth"? (I wonder if this was why my doctors were turned off by the term). Is there a birth plan that adapts to the all of other kinds of births, including ones that combine the "natural" elements with health care providers?

May 31, 2008 - 7:07pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

as a birth educator, i recommend that everyone do a birth plan. it's not an instruction sheet, it's a statement about your deepest wishes for your birth. it lets your providers and nurses know just what you want so they can best serve you. it doesn't have to be just for natural births. for example, if you have a little boy, you can state you don't want circumcision or you can state whether you want the hep b vaccine or you state who will be attending the birth with you. it's just a good way to give a lot of information succinctly.

i used a birth plan with my hospital birth of my first daughter. it helped have fetal monitoring with only a doptone and no external monitor. that was wonderful for me. the nurse didn't like it (because it was against hospital protocol) but because my dr had signed it the on-call dr honored it and i got what i wanted.

when i had a homebirth with my second child, i didn't use a birth plan because there was not a single thing my midwife would do that i didn't want. i've heard it said that if you need a birth plan, you need a new provider. in other words, find someone who routinely does it your way. you shouldn't have to say pretty please to get what you want. however, where i live, that would mean only homebirth, and some people for various reasons don't choose that.

July 15, 2008 - 9:50pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had a very detailed birth plan, and it never made it out of my suitcase! But contrary to the warnings I'd heard and read, the hospital staff respected my every wish - even those that made things a little less predictable and convenient for them (I had a natural childbirth).

Even though we did not actually use our birth plan, I think writing it out was helpful in that it helped me really make my wishes concrete and definite, and it ensured my husband and birth coach knew how to handle any variable that came up - we all were on the same page.

Good luck!

May 31, 2008 - 10:58am
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