BABIES: Should you have a birth plan?

26 September 2018
Reading time3 minutes

“A water birth, in the birthing centre, with no drugs.” That pretty much summed up my birth plan when I was pregnant with my first child. A bit of a waste of time, if I’m honest.

My eldest had other ideas, resulting in an emergency caesarean at 35 weeks. As you can never really plan exactly how the birth of your child is going to play out, are birth plans a little unnecessary?

It might seem that way, but they can still be a good tool for conveying your plans to the healthcare professionals that will be involved in your baby’s birth. Whether you want to try and go drug-free, or you want every available pain relief under the sun, a birth plan is a good place to be explicit about your wishes – even if things don’t go exactly the way you had hoped.

We asked our Facebook followers if they had a birth plan and if it was helpful.

Some said they had a birth plan for one of their baby’s births, but soon found out that it’s hard to plan for such an unknown:

Carolyn: “First child, yes. Did it work? No. The whole bloody thing went out the window! Ended up having an emergency C-section instead of my wonderful no drugs natural birth…best advice I can give is don’t plan anything and expect the unexpected when it comes to childbirth.”

Janessa: “First child, yes, and not a single thing on my birth plan actually went to plan. So next child I said ‘no way’ and took it as it came, with my husband being fully aware of my wishes if any decisions needed to be made.”

Ashleigh: “First child, yes – didn’t even come out of my bag! Nothing went to plan but in the end we were both healthy so it didn’t matter. I didn’t bother with baby number two.”

And, even when they had a birth plan, some of our followers said their wishes were ignored:

Natalie: “I had one for both births and they were completely ignored – thrown out the window.”

However, some of our followers were a lot more flexible when it came to their birth plans:

Kylie: “Go to hospital. Do as told. Worked perfectly.”

Shontel: “Whatever is best for my baby and I.”

Louise: “Only plan was to have a baby, and that I did. I'm not a doctor or midwife so I’m happy to be guided by those that do this for a living.”

Catherine: “No plan, no expectations, no disappointment. Hello baby.” 

Birth plans can be beneficial. As one follower said, “If nothing else they make you educate yourself and understand what is going on.” But, it is important to bear in mind that things don’t always work as planned.

Mel: “I think birth plans are good on one hand but they can be bad in another. Good because you and the doctors/midwives know what you want, but things don’t always go to plan and it can set you up to be very disappointed. I think if you do one, you have to be open and understanding that things out of your control happen and not everything goes to plan.”

If you would like to draw up a birth plan, a quick Google search will throw up lots of online templates, or check out this selection from Pinterest.

Are you expecting? Have you got a birth plan? Or do you think they are a waste of time? Let us know.

For advice on keeping your pregnancy natural, read our article here.

Written by

Kerry White

Kerry is the Senior Writer for Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City. Kerry moved to Australia from England in 2013 with her husband and two daughters. She worked as a sub-editor in London for seven years before she had her girls. She now calls the Sunshine Coast her home and is making the most of its glorious weather and beaches. She enjoys baking, especially when she has a glass of wine in hand, and is a part-time Psychology, Criminology and Justice student. She also shares her home with two cats and her daughters' imaginary dogs.

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