How useful is a birth plan?

Amy - posted on 04/12/2011 ( 35 moms have responded )

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I know some women don't make one. Some women have a ten paged plan.

Did you use one? What did you put in it? Was it worth it? Were you glad you made one?

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Jodi - posted on 04/12/2011

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"baby would have no testing such as blood sugar"

Can I ask WHY you would choose not to have your baby's blood sugar tested? My daughter's blood sugar was so low when she was born that she could have died without immediate treatment, and the immediate treatment happened as a result of the test.....

Lady Heather - posted on 04/13/2011

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We had a doula do prenatal classes with us and she gave us a list of "Birth Wishes" questions to take home and discuss with each other to make sure we were on the same page. So we did that and I think that was a good idea. We didn't have a detailed plan. We had discussed everything with the midwife and she acted on our behalf when medical intervention was required. I think it's definitely important to discuss your wishes with your care provider. Not necessary to write up a plan and carry it around with you.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/12/2011

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I think it's good to make one because otherwise you might not even know what options you have, and be surprised when the doctors do something that if you had a second to think about, you would have prevented.
I didn't have a birth plan written out, but I definitely had a plan:
-birth at home
-if we have to transfer to hospital, no pitocin, no strapping me down, no bright lights, no pressure for an epidural, no internal monitor, just get away from me unless the baby or I is in imminent danger!
-no episiotomy
-no goop in the baby's eyes
-hold the baby right away

I got to stay home, had the baby and it was wonderful. But I have a new birth plan for next time:
Same as last time, plus
-big tub of water for easing the pain, possibly having the baby in
-NO lying down for pushing
-no breaking my water
-fewer internal checks to see how dialated I am

Happy - posted on 04/12/2011

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I delivered my first w/o one and just did what I was told. Alot things that happened. I now know were not the best but I didn't know better 15 years ago. My second, I had a birth plan but I wasn't taken seriously and was told what I will do and not do. I didn't know then to have the OB sign it! UGH! Lesson learned. My third, who also was a VBAC in a university hospital, I had a birth plan, had the plan brought up before th hospitals Attending staff board and it was signed. Everything was followed without question. No pitocin, no epidural, no continuos external fetal monitoring, eating and drinking on demand, positioned at will, shower and tub at will, deliver in position I wanted, no eye drops, no Vit K, no vaccs, no cutting cord until after pulsation had stopped, kept my placenta. Others to that I can't think of right now. It was wonderful!!! Birth plans and have them SIGNED is the only way to go!

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35 Comments

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Katherine - posted on 06/14/2012

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wish I would have had one. Had my intentions clear in my mind. Made them clear to the nurses. Was told I couldn't have them. My doc was on my side, but since it was the middle of the night, they wouldn't ask him, and pushed me towards standard protocol. Wish I would have had it, had him sign it, and had the option to use it. You can always change your mind, but they can be very pushy to get you to go with something you don't want.

Patricia - posted on 04/14/2011

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the only thing i did was make sure my other kids were organised with every thing they neede and i had everything for bub organised and everything for bub and mum for hospitl organised once you are in there and in pain i think a birth plan goes completely out the window

Frances - posted on 04/13/2011

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My birth plan included: no medication, no electronic fetal monitor, no IV, being allowed to eat and drink during labor, not cutting the corn until it has stopped pulsating, no pitocin, no routine episiotomy, and no vitamin K shot or eye drops for the baby.

I also did not want during pregnancy the doppler or the ultrasound.

Frances - posted on 04/13/2011

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I did not have a written out birth plan, but I knew what I wanted. I found it very essential to discuss with my doctor on my first visit. That way, if the doctor was against my birth plan, I had time to change doctors.

April - posted on 04/13/2011

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i had a plan in mind, not written down, but my OB said not to bother putting it on paper. she said i wouldn't need it. i am writing it down next time. even if i have a home birth. i am one of those pushovers too, at least I was. I was one of those people that never questioned doctors, took everything a doctor said as gold.

Sarah - posted on 04/13/2011

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I didn't have a birth plan at all with my eldest.
With my youngest my plan was "I want an epidural!!!!!!!!!" I ended up having a C-section though!

I think having an idea about what you would like to happen is a good idea, but I also think you need to be flexible with it.......birth is a tricky thing, it's not always going to pan out the way you would like.

Bonnie - posted on 04/13/2011

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I didn't have a birth plan for either of my pregnancies. I knew I was likely going to demand an epidural and that's about it.

Caitlin - posted on 04/13/2011

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I didn'ty bother making a plan - I had 2 things I wanted - I wanted a healthy baby and I wanted to hold her right away - and it's what I got. I didn't really want to be induced but I was so overdue it wasn't really an option anymore to wait - and with the pitocin came and epidural, lack of mobility etc.. The second time I was induced again, so yet again, not really much of a choice for me, this time because my waters broke and I wasn't progressing enough and infection entered the realm of posibility, so it was pitocin andf epidural again.

Seriously i've always wanted my body to go into labour naturally on it's own both times and it's failed me, so maybe it will cooperate the third time around and I can try for an intervention free birth - but I know it's not likely.

Merry - posted on 04/13/2011

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Sounds like it boils down to if you are prone to giving in to people under stress, have a written plan.
But if you are a super strong minded type who will dictate easily your wishes then there's no real need.
Me, I'm a push over, so I'm avoiding the whole issue, but when I was planning a hospital birth I had already made up a nice sized plan. I can't trust myself to say no, I'd like to think I'd be strong, but I just know most times I end up giving in to others.

[deleted account]

For Ethan I never made one, my midwife was going to do it with me when I was 35 weeks - I was hospitalised at 34 weeks so we just never did it. My care was a as needed thing. I had researched pregnancy and labour pretty well though and knew what should happen, what could happen, what interventions may be suggested and why (with pros and cons). So I knew what I wanted, what I didn't want and what I would have if really necessary.

I knew I didn't want an epi and would see how I dealt with the pain - if I could I wanted only gas and air (which I managed woohoo) and nothing else. I wanted to stay as mobile as possible but would listen to my body when I was in labour (which again I did). I hadn't considered an induction although I knew what to expect (from listening to more than 50 other women come in for inductions while I was in hospital) - so when they said I needed one, I knew what would be happening and why it was important. For me it was all about knowing why things were being done or suggested and I made the decision based on what was necessary - it was necessary for me to be induced as my pre-e was becoming a danger to me and as such to my baby, it wasn't necessary to have my BP took every 5 minutes while in labour - that cuff was ripped off my arm lol.

This time again my midwife wants to do a birth plan at 34 weeks tbh I will fill in basics it doesn't hurt to have something on paper BUT I think if you are too rigid in what you want you set yourself up for disappointment and even failure as labour is something we should have flexibility with.

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I had one..put what i wanted in terms of pain relief and that i did not want many internals.I also put no down for being cut.



I didn't really need it..i mean i was there and i spoke up for myself.There was no need to have a written one.It went to plan,except i only took gas and air until i made the choice to get the epi.She was out half an hour after that.

Second time around i did not do one.

Stifler's - posted on 04/13/2011

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I filled out the antenatal clinical pathway and that's it. It asks if you'll be breast/bottle feeding, blah blah blah who is to cut the cord etc. 10 page plan? As if.

Becky - posted on 04/12/2011

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No, I didn't have one with either one, and I doubt I will next time around either. I knew what I wanted. With my first, not too much went according to plan - it certainly was not my plan to be induced 3 weeks early and have to spend 4 extra days in the hospital with my tiny baby under the bili lights! With my second, I pretty much got exactly what I wanted, but a big part of that was because I delayed going to the hospital until I was practically ready to push him out. There was no time for them to even try to force any interventions on me. They got me up on the table and said, okay, push!
There are a few things I want to do differently if I have a 3rd - delayed cord clamping and longer skin to skin immediately after delivery. But I will probably just talk to my midwife (hopefully) or OB about that, not actually write it down in a birth plan.

Bondlets - posted on 04/12/2011

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I do have one but it is one page with only 5 points to it. I didn't waste any words...it was blunt. More important to me than the birth plan was a birth team. My plan with #7 clearly stated that baby would have no testing such as blood sugar. Within 20 minutes of her birth a nurse said she was going to test my baby's blood sugar and instantly 3 of my 4 team members literally surrounded the warming table and blocked the nurse. A birth plan sometimes needs some "help" if it is to be backed up. ;)

My plan's points were:
1. I want drugs. Don't try to convince me otherwise - give me the epi.
2. Listen to me. If I'm 4cm and 10 minutes later say to get my doctor, get her (or be ready to catch baby yourself).
3. Please do not tell me how to labor/deliver, especially to "labor down". I push and it works for me.
4. Baby is not to be taken from me except to be weighed. All measurements and procedures can be done while baby is in my arms.
5. Baby is not to receive any shots/tests (including Hep B, PKU, blood sugar).

Merry - posted on 04/12/2011

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My ob said it wasn't necessary. Nothing went to plan, and I wasn't well prepared or well informed. Still no birth plan this time, but I'm complete,y informed about every possibility and very very well prepared for it all to go any way.
Planning a home birth with a midwife who is very like minded to me so there's not much worry about things going wrong, so nothing written or signed.

Toni - posted on 04/12/2011

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I thought about things I wanted but never wrote them out which was a good thing in the end with 1st pg cause everything went belly up.

Elfrieda - posted on 04/12/2011

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I think it's good to make one because otherwise you might not even know what options you have, and be surprised when the doctors do something that if you had a second to think about, you would have prevented.
I didn't have a birth plan written out, but I definitely had a plan:
-birth at home
-if we have to transfer to hospital, no pitocin, no strapping me down, no bright lights, no pressure for an epidural, no internal monitor, just get away from me unless the baby or I is in imminent danger!
-no episiotomy
-no goop in the baby's eyes

I got to stay home, had the baby and it was wonderful. But I have a new birth plan for next time:
Same as last time, plus
-big tub of water for easing the pain, possibly having the baby in
-NO lying down for pushing
-no breaking my water
-fewer internal checks to see how dialated I am

Alexis - posted on 04/12/2011

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The only thing a planned was a bag that I had ready, camera, phone, clothes and thats about it. Everything else was just whatever. I guess it depends on your personality. I was fine without one.

Happy - posted on 04/12/2011

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I delivered my first w/o one and just did what I was told. Alot things that happened. I now know were not the best but I didn't know better 15 years ago. My second, I had a birth plan but I wasn't taken seriously and was told what I will do and not do. I didn't know then to have the OB sign it! UGH! Lesson learned. My third, who also was a VBAC in a university hospital, I had a birth plan, had the plan brought up before th hospitals Attending staff board and it was signed. Everything was followed without question. No pitocin, no epidural, no continuos external fetal monitoring, eating and drinking on demand, positioned at will, shower and tub at will, deliver in position I wanted, no eye drops, no Vit K, no vaccs, no cutting cord until after pulsation had stopped, kept my placenta. Others to that I can't think of right now. It was wonderful!!! Birth plans and have them SIGNED is the only way to go!

Amy - posted on 04/12/2011

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My first baby I made one. Never got it out of the bag. Couldn't even tell you what was on it.

Rosie - posted on 04/12/2011

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i kinda had one i guess. i knew i was open to anything happening, i knew birth doesn't always go the way you have planned so my plan was to expect the unexpected. i wanted to try not having an epidural, but was willing to have one if i needed. i knew i wanted my child on me immediately after birth, but i was also aware things could happen that make it so that wouldn't be possible. luckily i got that all 3 times.

Nikki - posted on 04/12/2011

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I had one, but it was flexible. Because I was really nervous and unsure how I would react to the pain I wanted to be prepared with the things I was firm on in case I was unable to communicate because of the pain.

The short version of mine:

Painkillers - I will ask if I require them, however I would like to be informed if I am reaching the stage where it is too late for an epidural.

No epesiotomy sp? unless it is absolutely necessary.

No ob to deliver unless there are complications.

Skin to skin as soon as baby is born for as long as I want, unless of course there are complications.

That was about it I think, I got everything that I wanted. I most likely would have anyway because my pre natal midwife was my birthing midwife as it turned out so she knew what I wanted anyway.

Krista - posted on 04/12/2011

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I had one, but I went through the exercise mostly just to get a better feel for what kind of birthing experience I wanted. Because up until that point, I had no idea.

Of course, very little actually went according to plan. At one point, because the external monitoring wasn't going well, my OB suggested internal monitoring. The nurse said, "Her birth plan says she'd prefer to not have internal monitoring."

Well, this was during my pitocin-induced contractions from Hell. So I sat up in bed and stated very loudly, "FUCK my birth plan!"

My OB's eyebrows shot up to within about 3 milimetres of his hairline.

Ez - posted on 04/12/2011

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I didn't have one. I had a few 'birth wishes' though, and spoke to the midwife about these when I first got to hospital. Things like remaining mobile and upright and the fact I did not want to be offered an epidural. I have seen some very detailed birth plans, that include everything from desires regarding major interventions to the music they want playing. I guess some people feel more secure having it all laid out for the birth attendants. Others are happy to just go with it, and deal with any issues as they crop up.



Edit: My birth did not go how I wanted or expected it to, but it wasn't because of a lack of written birth plan.

Sara - posted on 04/12/2011

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I didn't have one. I learned early in my pregnancy because of some complications that things don't always go how you think they will. I didn't want to set myself up for disappointment to be honest, and I ended up having a great birth experience.

[deleted account]

I thought about making one never did though. I don't think its good to put unrealistic expectations on labor. I think people need to go with the flow but have their support person know what they want so they can speak for you if your unable to.

Minnie - posted on 04/12/2011

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I've never used one. I wanted to show mine to my OB and she laughed at me. I had a hands-off homebirth midwife for my second child so a birth plan didn't even cross my mind. Our philosophy of birth is so similar that I didn't worry about us clashing on how things should be done.

Charlie - posted on 04/12/2011

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Didn't have one , didn't need one I just read up on all the things that could happen to be prepared , new what I wanted and informed myself on the best way to get it if things went another way then thats how it was going to go as long as I got to hold bubba at the end .

Jodi - posted on 04/12/2011

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I didn't have one. I didn't need one. I just went with the flow, and never ended up with anything I didn't want.

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