Anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE a good birth plan and that I consider the birth plan to be a vital piece of the VBAC journey puzzle. BUT I am seeing so many women jumping into the birth plan before they've done any real work on just what sort of birth they want.
There's many ways to skin a VBAC, and you need to know which is right for you, BEFORE you put it all on paper.
These are the 5 things that I believe you need to do before you write your birth plan and present it to your care provider.
Work through your previous birth - deeply
It's really important to have a good handle on what happened during your last / caesarean birth and why - especially if you are wanting a different outcome and experience this time.
Writing your birth story and getting a copy of your hospital file are both great places to start. Make sure that you set aside plenty of time and that you critically analyse all the decision making points. Now - this isn't about blame, but about just looking at the decision making processes that you used and the things that influenced those decisions. If you need help with this please get in touch with me - I have several other resources on this topic.
Work out what you really want from this birth
What you really really want....
This is such a vital step and yet so many women skip it!
There are so many different ways to have a VBAC - do you want a physiological birth? medically managed? obstetric or midwifery care? Maybe you'd rather give birth under a tree in the back paddock?
And that's before we get to figuring out who you want there, how you want to feel, what you want to hear and smell, what colours are calling you etc. Set aside some time to sit down and write out your ideal birth - that perfect birth that you would have if there were no restrictions or other considerations.
Check out your care provider's policies / guidelines
I also call this the care provider's birth plan for you - because that's what the guidelines are. They are how your care provider plans to treat you and what they want to have happen during your birth. Your birth plan needs to respond to these - this ensures that it's kept super relevant.
It's also useful to ask your care provider "how do you plan to manage my pregnancy, labour, and birth".
You don't need to include what sort of music you are planning to listen to unless your care provider has a policy on music!
Make sure that they print you off a copy of their VBAC guidelines and any other that you feel could be relevant to your care - GD management, induction, management of 3rd stage etc. Also - if you are agreeing with what your care provider wants, you don't need to include it - for example if your care provider has a policy of continuous electronic monitoring and you want this then you don't need to include that in your birth plan.
Do the research
Now is the time to start doing some research and making some decisions about what's going to lead you closer to your ideal birth and what's not. I recommend going through the guidelines item by item and doing the research that way. It makes it a bit more straight forward.
And make sure that you have a notebook where you can keep track of your notes and decisions on each item. Some will be really quick and easy for you to decide and some will take a lot of extra research and consideration.
Work out what goes on which plan
You need more than just a care provider birth plan!
I always suggest that you have several plans - a plan A and B (and how ever many more you need!), a plan for your doula, and a plan for your partner. It's also a great idea to have an early labour plan for while you are still at home.
So work out what plans you need and then what decisions are relevant to which plans. For example: planning to go to hospital when contractions are every 3 minutes is not relevant for your care provider plan but could be relevant for your early labour plan and your doula's plan.
NOW that you've done ALL THIS WORK you can put the plan together and present it to your care provider. While a clear, concise, and relevant birth plan is vital to the journey - it is all this preparation work that gives power to the document and gives power to you.
I cannot wait to see you celebrate your power!
PS: If you are ready to work through all of these things, but would like some 1:1 support give me a shout. This is what my VBAC mentoring program is all about! You can click here to book in a free chat to help you discover what you want from your journey and how I can help you.
Not quite ready for a mentoring package, but want to start learning more about preparing for an awesome VBAC journey? Click here to jump on my email list.
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