Birth Planning: Tips from a Doula

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As you're preparing for your upcoming birth, you are probably considering many options, like:

Should I use drugs for pain management?
Will I want to labor in the hospital bed or move around?
Are my IV fluids necessary?  Can I request not to have them?
And SO many more!

Just thinking about all of the "what ifs" and procedures in labor and birth can be exhausting and overwhelming.  But when it's time for the big event, you may find yourself uncomfortable, trying to make decisions while laboring, scared, and not able to express yourself.  These feelings are normal!  Which is why it's so crucial to be prepared beforehand so that you aren't left feeling confused, fearful, and overwhelmed on what is supposed to be the best day of your life!

When I was hired by my very first doula client, we spent a considerable amount of time planning and preparing for her birth during our prenatal visits.  I wanted to know exactly how she wanted to feel and exactly what her wishes were so that I could do my best to support her.  We crafted a simple birth plan that covered some of her wishes and her thoughts about how she would like her experience to unfold.  She felt prepared, excited, and ready to meet her baby.

Of course, birth is unpredictable, and life threw her a few curve balls.  The best thing about creating a birth plan is the process that you go through to create it.  You learn about common interventions, procedures, and other possibilities that could come up in the course of your labor.  You develop an understanding about what is normal and what is not, and you've already done the research to know how you might want to handle each situation.  You've set your intentions, but you're educated about ALL options.

When it was clear that her birth plan had to change, she had already done the work beforehand to accept that birth plans aren't set in stone.   We quickly designed a new "plan", which took into account her unexpected situation, but was still respectful of her wishes and desires for her experience.  

We arrived at the hospital and cautiously handed the birth plan over to the nurses.  I had never done this before, so I was a little worried about how they would react to the list of desires.  Guess what?! The nurse relayed to the midwife that they were about to have a natural birth and everyone quickly jumped into action to support her!  The nurse gave her an overview of what to expect in her situation as the labor progressed, the midwife grabbed a birth ball and turned off the lights in the room so my client could relax.  I could tell that there was a special energy in the room.  Everyone seemed excited to witness this labor in an unusual situation.  They gladly welcomed me and did their best to make sure that my client's wishes were met.

It was a beautiful, hard, humbling birth that started a little rocky and unexpected, and ended with a gorgeous baby in her arms and a happy mom who said that she would do it all over again! 

Over the past years, we've written our own birth plans for our own birth experiences, helped women write theirs in our childbirth education classes, and guided our doula clients in crafting their birth plans.  We've been able to see what works and what doesn't in each local hospital and with different care providers.  And my team and I have come up with a fantastic document that guides you through the process of designing the perfect birth plan.

From start to finish, you'll feel confident and secure knowing that you've considered every possible option and designed a clear and concise birth plan that perfectly expresses your wishes and how you want to feel during this most important day!

Download now! THRIVE Doulas 6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Birth Plan:

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