Birthing plans are a gift and a curse.
They are recommended as they help you think about what you would want and do not want to happen during birth. I would always advise having a plan in place and you and your partner knowing what your options are. But it can also mean that when things don’t go to plan that you feel upset, scared and worried about the fact you are not having the birth you wanted.
The key to managing unplanned changes is the mindset you hold. There needs to be an acceptance that your plan may not happen and all, and that’s totally ok as long as you still feel in control of some things. Make a list of things that no matter what birth you have you know you can still do and experience. Certain music, postures and support from your partner.
But what can you do if you feel that the birth of your baby is really spiralling and serious decisions need to be made? There is a well known acronym used that would be super helpful for you and your partner to learn and understand. It may help you to calm the anxiety and feelings of loss of control.
B – Benefits. What are the Benefits of what is being suggested to you by the healthcare professionals? Why are you being offered it.
R – Risks. What are the risks of what is being offered or suggested to you? And what level risk is it? High? Low?
A – Alternatives. What are the alternatives to what is being suggested? Are there alternatives and what risks do they pose?
I – Implications & Interventions. What are the implications of what you are being offered? Will that then lead to other Interventions most likely being needed.
N – Nothing. What would doing nothing do? Would waiting and seeing how things are in an hour be ok? Or is nothing not an option?
This can be for something as simple as being offered a cervical sweep or as big as deciding whether to have an epidural or a c-section. Your birthing partner is absolutely key here. They will most likely be the one asking the questions, as you may be in a situation where you are having to concentrate on more pressing issues (like breathing through intense surges).
In any situation knowledge and preparation is power.
You and your baby will come through this together, however it was meant to be. The moment you get to hold your baby is the moment your great ‘birth plans’ no longer mean a thing.