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Subject: misc.kids.pregnancy Birth Planning FAQ (part 1 of 3)
This article was archived around: 17 Mar 1997 23:18:48 -0800
Expires: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 00:00:00 GMT
I would like to begin with a disclaimer that I teach the Bradley(r)
method of natural childbirth - I do not have any training in the
Lamaze method, so I can't say if there are things in this that
are not applicable to that or any other method... I personally
believe that most of the Bradley(r) method is very common sense,
and that this will be useful to anyone writing a birth plan.
I do know that some MDs believe that Bradley(r) parents are too
aggressive in asking for what they want - there is a fine line
between being a good consumer and not letting your practitioner
make critical decisions! I try to get good communication skills
across to my students so that they will not close down the lines
when they are talking to their medical team about their wishes!
I would also like to point out that some practitioners believe
that birth plans are useless, or worse, that they are a directive
to the practitioner, so they resent the interference! I prefer
to think that they are a wish list to remind people of what you
would like, in a perfect world. Try to get across to your
practitioner and the hospital/birth center staff that you are
flexible and that you understand that in an emergency they will
have to make some decisions for you - that's why you picked
this team/birth place, and you trust them to keep you and the
baby healthy and safe! (If you don't trust them, see if you
can find another practitioner/place to give birth - how can you
have a good birth if you spend the whole labor in fear?)
AAHCC Student workbook instructions for birth planning.
(reprinted with permission (per Robert 9/26/94) - copyright 1989 AAHCC)
Step 1. Know Your Options
Include: Where will your baby be born?
When will you go to your birth place?
Will you and your coach ever be separated?
What prepping procedures will you go through?
How will the baby be monitored in labor?
Will you be free to move, walk, change positions at will?
Will there be time limits on the length of your labor or pushing?
What positions might you use to push?
How will you push?
Will you have an episiotomy?
Will you take pictures?
Will you breastfeed immediately?
Who will cut the cord? When will it be done?
Will the baby ever be taken from the parents?
When will you go home if you are in a hospital/birth center?
(you need to take some kind of class to know what the consequences of each of
Step 2. Examine your feelings
Both mother and coach need to decide what things are important to
them and then discuss their feelings and make any necessary
Step 3. Consider your priorities
List your shoices in order of priority - most important first.
This is how most medical people think.
Step 4. Evaluate your situation
Are your choices realistic? Are most of your choices openly
supported by your birth team? If not, will you compromise
or make other arrangements?
Step 5. Meet with your medical professsional
Make an appointment for both mother and coach to sit and talk
to your practitioner. Make a brief list of options to discuss
based on things you already know your MD or midwife supports.
Be sure to stress that this is a scenario for a normal labor
situation. Let the person state feelings about your choices.
Discuss emergency situations and find out how your provider
would handle them.
Step 6. Prepare for a positive experience
Be sure to phrase your final birth plan in a pleasant and
polite tone - do not present this as a list of demands. This
can help everyone feel more confident and increase your chances
of having the birth experience you want. Be sure to include
your flexibility should and unexpected situation arise!
Step 7. Be flexible
A beautiful birth experience is important and will have a
positive effect on the family which can last a lifetime.
However, the health and safety of mother and baby come first.
If an emergency does occur, crucial decisions effecting their
lives and health must be made quickly, and will require
cooperation, as you and your birth team work together.
The Cuddy birth plan for our first baby was a one page list of our
preferences for normal labor/postpartum and a second page for
complications. This was prefaced with a statement that we wanted a
natural birth and had prepared using the Bradley method.