Jess posed this question recently on the site, and we decided to take it down and build en entire post around it. What do you guys say — did you have a birth plan?

On_my_shelf I know what my options are and am educated on birth as I am in health care (in Canada). I like the hospital my doctor works out of but if I had to go to the other hospital in town I’d be ok with that, too. I don’t have plans to either have or not have an epidural. It’s my first baby so I just want to see how it goes and make the decision as it comes.

I understand why women like birth plans… but I just don’t want one. I find that the idea of a birth plan (for me personally) actually to be kinda stressful. It’s like putting pressure on myself to perform in a particular way when this experience is completely new to me. I know that most women find the birth plan to be reassuring and really enjoy having one. I think plans are a great idea but I still don’t want one. I haven’t met any other women who also feel this way.

Are there any other offbeat mamas who just aren’t doing a birth plan?

Comments on Do I have to have a birth plan?

  1. I didn’t have one, but that’s because I had a homebirth, so I figured that if I were being seen by anyone who didn’t already know what I wanted by dint of being the midwife I’d spoken to for nine months about my wishes and desires, then something already went WAY off plan. If I’d been in a hospital, I DEFINITELY would’ve written a very detailed and explicit plan.

    (Also, I’ve heard it said that provisions in a birth plan are not legally binding unless you use the word “consent”, e.g. “I don’t want AROM” is not binding, but “I do not consent to AROM” is. May just be a piece of mom lore, but I’d say it’s worth writing like a lawyer to get what you want.)

  2. I think it’s possible to have a birth plan without having every detail planned out. My birth plan is focused on what I know I want, as opposed to what I don’t want ie: I want my husband to ‘catch’ the baby and cut the cord, if he feels up to it. I want to let the cord stop pulsing before it’s cut. I want to start with laughing gas and go up drug-wise from there as I want. What’s really a bummer though is that I am now past due and we’re starting to talk about my midwife referring me to an OB for induction- chances of an OB letting my husband ‘catch’ the baby are slim to none in my area. So in that sense, making a plan has lead to a slight disappointment, but I still don’t regret it. Really hoping that I can at least convince the OB to let the cord stop pulsing…

  3. I had a birth plan but it wasnt so intense – it was very basic like – I would like water drawn for me, who I would allow in the room(family and friends wise) and please do an Episiotomy if it comes down to it.. unfortunately none of it was followed even at this stupidly simple level as my wee man came 2 weeks early and arrived 2 hours after my contractions started – it is in a way a piece of mind, and almost a placebo pill in a way – if its written down its okay type of thing

  4. With my first child my birth plan was: No epidural, unless I needed one, and ummmm…. that was it. My water broke at 34 weeks 4 days. They put me on pitocin, and I got an epidural. I had a perfect baby boy, and I consider it a very good birth experience. (In part, I think, because I didn’t have an expectations, except that it would hurt, and I would get a baby out of it)

    With my 2nd my birth plan was to make it to 36 weeks. My water broke at 34 weeks 5 days.

    Both of my children are prefect, non preemie babies, both of my due dates were correct. My OB has this, “maybe you just have a faster gestation” theory.

    I think it’s ok to “go with the flow.” None of us can control all that much of the birthing experience. I think to have a very specific plan, is to invite more stress if things don’t go according to plan. (Which they rarely do)

    Good luck!! And don’t feel any pressure to make a detailed plan. The baby, and your body, will do what they will do, and in the end, all you can do is roll with the punches.

  5. I just made a wish list for my doc with what I’d really like and not like to happen if at all possible. She then knew the key things I’d have a problem with (being strapped to a bed with a fetal monitor unable to walk around) and what I’d be ok with (a c-section if it will be better for both of us). She was so happy to have it, she put it all in my chart on the computer and told me last visit she still has the copy I gave her in my pocket for when I deliver. I have important things listed like my adhesive allergy that is noted in my record but can be easily overlooked in a situation needing quick work. This just drives the point home. I can’t wait to meet Peanut, no matter how it happens But I feel better with them knowing some direction for us.


  6. My midwife encouraged me to write a birth plan, I filled it all in with what I wanted & everything. Three days later I landed in the hospital with premature rupture of membranes at 32 weeks, on bed rest in a hospital room for ten days and then induced at 34 weeks. My daughter was healthy but in the NICU for two weeks because she needed to grow more and learn how to eat.

    So basically, I’m not feeling the whole birth plan thing. It’s so hard to plan anything like this, really–I mean you just never know what’s going to happen (and not always bad things happen!! I know my experience is totally out of the ordinary). I think it’s less stressful to just go with the flow. But like others have said it’s definitely important to talk about all your options with your midwife/doctor.

  7. Can I just say that not having a birth plan does not mean you won’t have hopes and expectations? I keep seeing comments where people say ‘I knew five gals who were so disappointed that the birth plan didn’t go correctly, which is why I always say don’t make one’, but do you think that not officially making a plan will mean you don’t have preferences or opinions anyway? I am not a planner, not in the slightest, but there are some things I definitely have an opinion about and I highly doubt that refusing to write those things down will make those opinions any different than they are now. Making a birth plan does not mean that you don’t anticipate the unexpected, and not making a birth plan does not mean that things will go smoothly.

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