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Doula with a worried expression on her face saying 'don't make this mistake with your birth plan

Episode 51: Birth Preferences - not a Birth Plan

birth prep intervention mindfulness Sep 28, 2022


Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] I have seen some birth plans that are like six page documents. That are so detailed as if you can choreograph or as if there's an agenda for your birth. Unfortunately, and fortunately, birth is always a surprise.

Birth preferences it's more indicative of the fact that you actually cannot plan birth.

You've probably heard the term birth plans, but have you heard the term birth preferences? I'm gonna talk to you today about why I use the term birth preferences. I'm Cara Lee Kiggins. I'm a certified birth doula, and a childbirth educator, and a mother of two school-aged children. And today we're talking about the term birth preferences rather than a birth plan.


So you probably heard people talking about birth plans. Birth plans are really popular. =This video is not going to say that birth plans are useless or that you shouldn't do it because that's not exactly what I mean. There's more nuance than that. But I don't call them birth plans for a reason. I call them birth preferences. Birth preferences it's more indicative of the fact that you actually cannot plan birth, that it's just true. I have seen some [00:01:00] birth plans that are like six page documents. That are so detailed as if you can choreograph or as if there's an agenda for your birth. Unfortunately, and fortunately, birth is always a surprise.

Every birth, even if you've given birth before, every baby is different. Every birth experience is different. So as you prepare to meet your baby and go through this process of laboring and meeting your baby, you can't plan every detail. And so the term plan is really misleading. What you can do is create a document, and I talked about this a couple weeks ago.

You can go check that out. But you can create a document that lists your preferences and it's a communication tool with your medical care provider about values you have around birth and your preferences in terms of labor and birth. So are you somebody who has always wanted to use epidural pain medication?

Rock on. You can walk in there with that as part of your preferences. Birth preferences are not just for people who want [00:02:00] unmedicated or, or "natural" birth. So you can walk in there and say, I would like an epidural, and here's what my strategy is gonna be about when I use an epidural.

We talk about strategy for whether when to use an epidural in the birth preparation class online birth class.

So you also maybe somebody who really hates needles and wants to minimize needle use. So you're gonna put that in your preferences. You may not know the sex of your baby, and so you're going to want to have your partner, whether it's the other parent of the baby, or the father of the baby, call out, whether the baby is boy or girl when they're born. That can go in your preferences.

Delayed cord clamping can go in your preferences, but all of these preferences should be discussed ahead of time with your medical care provider. And that's what I talked about in the birth plans video a few weeks ago. This is a planning document. It's a communication document.

It's something that you work on ahead of time. It shouldn't be a surprise to your medical care provider when you show up to birth your baby. So you can practice navigating with your medical care provider what you'd like to have in terms of your preferences for your birth. So this is why I [00:03:00] call it birth preferences rather than a birth plan.

I think that sometimes it is so tempting to think that we can plan birth. It's something that it just make us... Birth. The fact that you can't plan birth and you have no idea how it's gonna go down and so much is out of your control, is really deeply uncomfortable for most of us. It's really deeply uncomfortable for the, those of us who like to plan things out and know what to expect.

So it is, I want to really give compassion and invite you to have self compassion and this is where you're coming at it because sometimes a birth plan, it's something that we can do to make us feel like we can plan birth. It's the same with things like the way people obsess that we're getting all this stuff for pregnancy and or for parenting a baby like the strollers and car seats and where you need a car seat for sure to get home from the hospital, but or the birth center.

But you know, sometimes there's just so much we can't control. There's so much that we just don't know how it's gonna go. And we can all say that. I can say that, [00:04:00] but the truth is it can be deeply uncomfortable for you to not know. And the concept of being able to plan is really tempting, but it's misleading.

You can't plan your birth, but what you can do is put together birth preferences. So I talk all the time about birth plans, but what I really mean are birth preferences. And you'll notice that even when I title a video or in my birth online birth course, I title a whole lesson on birth plans. But once we get in the video, I calling the preferences because it's really important to think about what the purpose is of this document and what it can and can.

What it can do, help you plan and collaborate with your medical care provider. What it can't do is tell the universe and your body and your baby how your birth is gonna go. Cause you just, you just don't know you just don't know. Okay. That's it for this week's video. Just a little, um, rumination, A little bit of thoughts on birth preferences versus birth plans.

I post a new video every Thursday. Please like and subscribe to my channel and I'll see you next [00:05:00] week.



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