When preparing for childbirth, most articles you read, or people you talk to will suggest some sort of birth plan. Many women plan every single aspect of their birthing experience. If that works for them – great! However, childbirth rarely ever goes exactly according to plan. This is why it’s so important to be flexible and open when preparing for childbirth:
- You just can’t know until you’re there. When I was in labour with my first baby, I could tell my contractions were getting more intense. Just how intense? I had no idea, because I had nothing to compare it to. I didn’t want to be a big wimp if these were just the teeny tiny contractions. (It turns out they were the big ones, but how was I to know??)
- It’s impossible to plan for every contingency. What if I need an emergency c-section and that’s not in my birth plan? There’s no need to add stress to an already-stressful situation by being worried about straying from your birth plan. My hope was to have a water birth at the hospital. It ended up not working out at the last minute, because of the increased chance of baby ingesting meconium, but I was okay with changing it up.
- Babies have their own plans, too. Although women are given a due date, we all know this is an estimation based on the assumption that a baby will “cook” for 9 months to the day. Research shows though, that babies all vary in their definition of full-term. Your baby knows when he’s ready to be born, and he doesn’t much care what the calendar date is.
- You can relax a little. It’s okay to just go with the flow and see how your labour progresses. Do what you feel when you feel it. If you’ve got a strict plan of labouring in the tub for 45 minutes, listening to meditative music on the car ride, and using the birthing ball up until baby’s birth, you will be sorely disappointed if (and most likely when) you must make on-the-fly adjustments to your plan.
Of course it’s important to think about your hopes and expectations of labour and childbirth before it happens. After having two of my own sweet boys however, I do know that giving birth to each boy was totally different from the other. I wasn’t left feeling stressed or disappointed during either of my labours because I went in without a strict birth plan. And I suggest you do the same.