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A Birth Plan HAS POWER



Birth planning can be a contentious topic. There have been hospitals and practitioners who have asked or even mandated that their clients not bring them. There is the old labor & delivery joke, something along the lines of “a comprehensive birth plan is a one-way ticket to the OR.” But why all the vitriol surrounding birth plans?

The name is misleading; birth plans are less about “planning” and more about becoming knowledgeable. We all know that a birth plan is no guarantee that the actual birth will unfold in a specific way simply because we’ve written our wishes, hopes, wants, and don’t-wants down on paper. The threat isn’t the piece of paper, it’s the education mothers gain through creating it. To some healthcare professionals, the thought that protocols, policies, or “routines” may be questioned, challenged, or downright a refused is threatening. These same practitioners would rather have demure acquiescence to what they’re used to, comfortable with, have always done than have to compromise. And no, it’s not every practitioner who bucks up against the birth plan, but enough of them do that the occurrence of them being disregarded has become common knowledge.

I strongly recommend some kind of birth planning to all of my clients and I am more than willing to assist in the process with answers, resources, and suggestions. Going into birth, the most momentous experience of your life, with a “go with the flow” approach may result in exactly that. But it’s very likely that flow will be determined by someone else.