Dear Doula,
I just got back from my prenatal appointment with my doctor, and it sounds like I should have my birth plan already written…and I haven’t even taken my classes yet.  I’ll be honest, I'm totally overwhelmed every time someone talks about birth plans. Even thinking about it makes me have more questions than answers! I'm not entirely sure how to approach making a birth plan and understanding all the options. Any suggestions?

-Overwhelmed in OTR


Hi there, Overwhelmed,

It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed, and you’re definitely not alone in that. The term Birth Plan makes most people think that they have to know exactly how their birth is going to go from start to finish. But of course, birth is unpredictable, so how are you supposed to plan it…what if…what if…what if…?

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We have a solution! Join the hundreds of clients and students we've helped and get access to our Perfect Birth Plan Worksheet today.

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One of the easiest ways to dial back that pressure of planning is to reframe how we think about Birth Plans. Simply changing the name to Birth Preferences can help ease your mind. 

Start by asking yourself a very simple question.

How do I want to remember the day I met my baby for the first time?

Spend some time thinking about your answer. 
Ask your partner the same question. 
Talk together about the moments that you envision. 

It’s easy for care providers to get caught up in conversation with their patients. Sometimes they forget that patients haven’t taken a class yet, or that some patients might not even know a class is appropriate for the choices they are making. Taking a childbirth class can be an important step in helping people feel less stressed about the unpredictability of birth and the choices available.

When you look for a class find one that focuses on:

anatomy of pregnancy and birth,
fetal positioning,
the process of birth,
coping and comfort techniques (both medical and not),
breathing and relaxation,
and positions for labor and birth.

A well rounded class will focus on how you can have a positive and memorable birth, and be involved in making decisions for your family. You’ll leave with an understanding of the options available, common practices for birthing in your community, and answers to those “what if" questions about birth. 

After class, spend time putting the pieces together.
What can you take away from class that will help make that vision of meeting your baby for the first time more possible?
Is there anything that's changed how you look at your hopes for your birth?

At your prenatal meetings with your doulas you’ll have time to talk about where you’re at in your birth preferences. Your doulas can share their professional insight, walk you through and help you process some of the questions you may still have, and help you draft a birth plan that articulates your goals for your birth experience. 

Remember that your birth plan is a personalized tool for guiding a conversation with your doctor or midwife, so you can share what’s most important to you for your birth. Using positive language and taking a team approach to your preferences will help to continue the positive relationship you’re building with your care team. They’ll talk with you about any policies that they may have for their patients, or that your birth place may have, and help you make adjustments that are best for your and your baby’s care.

Since the last thing any doctor, nurse, or midwife wants to see is that twenty page birth plan printable check off list floating around the internet featuring your choice to have or not to have that enema in triage (pssst. we don’t know of any hospitals or providers that still do that), we thought you’d enjoy our free worksheet: Writing Your Perfect Birth Plan. We’ve combined our years of experience as doulas and childbirth educators, along with feedback from doctors, midwives, and nurses to give you a step-by-step tool that’s modern, positive, and well received.

Best of luck, Overwhelmed! Here's to hoping Optimistic is on the horizon. :D

Feeling Overwhelmed?

We have a solution! Join the hundreds of clients and students we've helped and get access to our Perfect Birth Plan Worksheet today.

Just for the record, we don't do weird things with your email address (like sell it or send you lots of annoying stuff). We promise. Powered by ConvertKit

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