-Do they want to videotape or take photographs during the delivery?
-Do they hope to breastfeed or opt for formula?
Creating a birth plan encourages pregnant women and their support team to process the above questions. It provides an opportunity to research information and to openly communicate fears, concerns and expectations for labor and birth. It also acts as an effective communication tool with the caregiver.
Whether the debate is about caesarian versus vaginal delivery, unmedicated delivery versus the use of medication, breastfeeding versus the use of formula or returning to work versus becoming a stay-at-home mom, it seems everyone has an opinion about women’s very personal decisions. However, no outside person can or should determine what is right for each woman, her partner and her birthing support team.
This is the same reason childbirth preparation classes are useful. People sometimes say, “women have been having babies for thousands of years; they don’t need someone to teach them how to do it.” However, the purpose of most childbirth classes is not to ‘teach’ women how to birth, it’s to increase the confidence of both women and their partners about this normal, natural process. Furthermore, it informs expectant parents about the latest research on various topics, so that they can make educated decisions.
Of course in the end, it’s important to remember the birth “plan” is really just an outline. Expectant parents must be willing to be flexible. As with most of life’s most worthwhile adventures, anything can happen when it comes to babies. And, regardless of exactly how the delivery plays out, it will make a great story to share with others.
About the Author:
Stefanie Antunes is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and certified birth doula with DONA International. As owner of Discover Birth, she helps expectant parents prepare for childbirth in a fun and positive way. She attends births with couples so they can fully experience the amazing potential of this transformative event. Stefanie, a mother of three, is an advocate in the childbirth movement, helping to decrease maternal and infant mortality rates across North America through awareness of safe practices and an evidence-based approach.