Often times when I talk about birth planning I get told that:
“I don’t want to make a birth plan. I just want a healthy baby.”
Some take it a bit further and tell me they don’t care about the birth as long as they and their bub are alive at the end.
I take a rather more holistic view of health and birth.
And I very firmly believe that birth planning can help you to have a healthy birth.
Every single test, procedure and intervention that you are offered or asked to have during your pregnancy and birth has risks and alternatives. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. A robust birth planning process (ie: NOT just a tick list downloaded off a random internet birth site) will help you to ensure that you are making the best decisions for you, your baby and your birth.
Your birth planning process should start as soon as you start trying to conceive and should include LOTS of conversations with a wide range of people.
Here’s the briefest process I would recommend:
List ALL the things
Compile a list of all the tests, procedures and interventions that you will likely be offered. During pregnancy as well as during labour and birth. Not sure about what will be offered? Ask your care provider! If they are interested in helping you to have a healthy birth they will be very keen to ensure that you are informed and confident in your decisions and will encourage you to do plenty of research. If not – find a new care provider
What even is healthy?
Define healthy. Think about what makes you feel healthy. Do you feel healthy when you are taking medication? Does chatting with a doctor and getting a prescription make you feel like you are taking care of your health? Chatting with a naturopath? Seeing a chiropractor? Swimming in the ocean and being in nature? You get to define healthy for you, your birth, and your baby.
Now apply this to birth. What would you consider to be a healthy birth? A birth with an obstetrician and all the interventions? A homebirth with a midwife? It’s YOUR birth so you can define it!
Note: Make sure that you include physical, emotional and spiritual health in your above definitions.
Use your BRAIN and make some decisions
Go through each item starting with the earliest one and run it through your BRAIN. What are the benefits, what are the risks, what are the alternatives, what does your intuition say about this and what would happen next if you chose to consent.
Decide which items fit into your definition of health and which don’t. Think about whether there are circumstances where you might decide that a test, procedure, or intervention is necessary for the health of you, your baby or your birth.
Remember that healthy relationships are important too! Do you feel that you can build a respectful and powerful relationship with your care provider? Do you feel respected and powerful in their presence? If not - find someone else or ask to be assigned someone who you can work with.
The very aim of birth planning is to help you to achieve a healthy baby, a healthy mum and a healthy birth – however YOU define health.
Much love, Lizzie.
PS: Want some help planning YOUR healthy birth and undergoing healthy decision making processes? Email me at: email@example.com or message me on facebook to see if my birth planning workshop or VBAC mentoring would be the right fit for your journey.
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