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Birth Plans with an image of Cara Lee giving two thumbs up.

Episode 45: Birth Plans

birth prep cesarean birth labor Aug 18, 2022



No, you can't actually plan birth. But building you birth plan is still really important!


Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Hello. Hello and welcome to the Brave Journey Birth channel. I'm Cara Lee Kiggins. I'm a certified birth doula and a childbirth educator and a mother of two. I have two school-aged kids. And today we're gonna be talking about birth plans.


You may have heard that birth plans are super important and you need to be very, very sure to plan every element of your birth. You may have also heard that birth plans are useless because you can't plan birth. And somewhere in the middle of those two is the actual truth.

Birth plans can be super useful. I like to think of them more like birth preferences, but you can't plan your birth. It's true. You cannot plan your birth. You are not planning out a birth, like first this will happen and then this will happen and then this will happen. That's not possible.

What [00:01:00] you're using your birth plan from now on, I'm gonna call them birth preferences. What you're using your birth preferences document for is for three reasons. One is helping you build a collaborative relationship with your medical care provider, your doctor, or your midwife. Two you're training yourself and getting comfortable being an active participant and owning your power in your birth experience. And later on in your birth room. And three birth preferences are an excellent way to educate yourself and learn what is available at your birthing facility, and also make sure that that's exactly where you wanna be having your baby.

So the first purpose of building your birth preferences is to begin a collaborative relationship with your medical care provider or your medical care provider group. So you should be building your birth preferences, document, whatever that looks like. And we'll talk later, I'm gonna have a template available for you on my website, but you're gonna be building your birth preferences document in collaboration with your doctor, your OB, or your Midwife.

And if you have a practice of multiple midwives or [00:02:00] multiple OBS that you see throughout your pregnancy, you'll be preparing and discussing this document with all of them. So this is how you can practice getting to know how your medical care provider works with you in terms of your vision and your expectations and your hopes and your dreams and your fears for your birth and how they like to talk to you about that.

It's really important that you feel that they're a safe person for you to talk to about your birth preferences. It doesn't have to be long conversations, but you can go through a few points. And learn about what it's like to collaborate with the person who's gonna be helping you have your baby. And this also can give you a clue of if this is actually the person you want helping you have your baby. Tidbit. Spoiler alert.

The second purpose of building your birth preferences is to educate yourself and practice and step into what it feels like and how to own your birth experience. And later on, hopefully own your birth space, but really step into your power that this is your experience and you are the final decision maker in your birth room.

So building your birth preferences, you're educating yourself on your options. You're educating yourself [00:03:00] about the different medical interventions that are available in our modern medical era and how you feel about them and what you would like, how you'd like to engage with those, depending on how things go with your individual circumstances and your individual preferences.

Again, these are preferences, not a plan. This is your birth preferences, but you can educate yourself through building this document. Nobody expects you to become an expert on all of this, but this is a way of making sure that you're familiar with what your options are or what your options should be, which leads me to my next point about your medical care facility.

But this leads you to learn about what your options are, what your preferences might be, to learn about and educate and also practice what it means to own these elements of your birth experience.

So yes, your medical care providers, you have hired them for a reason. You have hired them because of their expertise and their knowledge and the advice and suggestions that they can give you from their expert opinion.

But they're not you, you are still the final decision maker. And so you can build your birth preferences as a [00:04:00] practice, your birth 'plan' as a practice for what it is to own that space. As the final decision maker, taking into account, the people that you've hired in the room to help you have your baby.

Now, third, the final purpose of birth preferences is to learn what your medical facility has available to you. So if you have dreamt of laboring in a birth tub and you picked a hospital that you've heard really good things about to be where you birth your baby, but they don't have birth tubs. Then maybe this isn't a good fit for you because there's maybe a hospital down the street that does have birth tubs.

Another example, if you've always planned that you're going to labor for a little while in early labor, get really into an active labor pattern, and then you're going to have an epidural placed. This has always been part of your plan to have an epidural. And you also selected a beautiful new birth center in your community. That is just gorgeous. And it turns out that you can't have an epidural if you're birthing at the birth center. Well, then that's not a good match for you.

So this is where you can [00:05:00] learn what is available for you at your medical facility. If you've always dreamt of using nitrous oxide, but there's no nitrous available. Then that's that, you know, different facilities have different things available in terms of pain relief, pain, coping hydrotherapy, tubs, showers.

And so using your birth preferences is simply a communication method for learning about what's available to you.

So those are the three main purposes of building your birth plan, your birth preferences.

There's no way to plan birth. This is so true, but neither is it really a good idea to go blindly into your birth having learned nothing. It. So birth preferences can be a tool for communication and collaboration with your medical care providers. Also your birth partner, I haven't mentioned it until now, and I should have sooner. Your birth partner can absolutely, this is how you two begin talking together about your hopes and dreams and expectations for your birth experience.

Okay. That's it. I'm gonna be posting a new video every Thursday. So check back here weekly. I'll see you then.



Free Birth Plan Templates

While you can't 'plan' birth, creating a Birth Preferences document in collaboration with your OB or Midwife will help you get to know your care provider, learn your birth facility options, and practice being an active participant in your birth experience.

Access your free resource

Download "Birth Bag Packing List and Mini-Class"

This birth bag packing list pdf and mini-class video shows you what to pack for your birth and how to set the tone in your birth room.

Access your free resource