You made it through the first trimester filled with ups and downs, sickness (morning or all day), fatigue, nausea, and let's face it, just plain not feeling great. Now the glories of the second trimester are here, and you start to hear the words, birth plan. It may be from your provider, friend, or from one of the thousands of google searches you have been doing to check on every possible thing about pregnancy.
So what is it, and why should you make one?
A Birth Plan Is Just That, A Plan
One of the biggest things that you will learn in pregnancy is that your baby is in control. He or she will determine at what day and time they will make their grand entrance into the world. So while the plan isn't about the specifics on when he/she will arrive, it is about the choices that you can make and have throughout your labor, birth, and postpartum experience.
Therefore, it is worth saying that at the end of the day, this is a fluid plan. Knowing what your ultimate and perfect birth experience would look like doesn't mean that you will get everything you put on your list. Things may and most likely will change, because, hey, life is unpredictable, but having a plan in place, it will help you to know more of what to expect if things do go astray
Knowledge Is Key
When you begin creating your birth plan, you may hear some terms that you never knew existed: Pitocin, TENS unit, Vitamin K, Golden Hour. All these things can be or not be part of your plan. It's okay if you don't know what they are, this is the perfect time to either look them up, ask your provider or ask your doula for more information.
One Word: Pain
One of the biggest choices that you will probably make on your birth plan will be what type of birth you would like to have: medicated or unmedicated. There is no right option as a whole, each mama is different. No matter what option you choose, you should look up or ask about those options and more importantly what are the benefits and risks for all procedures that can be done during labor, whether it's routine or not.
C-Section: Know What to Expect
Nobody wants a C-Section, and rarely do people actively plan for it, unless by medical necessity. Regardless, you should look up and decide what you would like to have happened if in the event an emergency cesarean is required at any point during pregnancy or labor. If you know your options and what to expect prior to the birth, it can help make your decisions at the moment more informed, less stressful, and helps you to feel more in control to still be able to own your birth experience.
Care of Your Newborn
Most people don't realize the procedures that occur immediately after birth, and how important they can be for both your newborn and yourself. Looking up research on when to have the umbilical cord cut, when to hold your baby skin to skin contact, how to deliver the placenta (or what a placenta even is), and all the procedures done on your new little baby are important for you to know and choose what you would like. Trust me, making those decisions now are way less overwhelming and way less exhausting than after you have just completed the marathon of birth and have all those rushing hormones.
Own Your Birth
One of the most important aspects of birth that women comment on is wanting to feel in control during their labor. While there are many aspects of birth that are completely outside our control, what we women can control is our knowledge ahead of time during our 9 month preparation period. Do your research, ask questions, talk with other moms, and listen to other birth stories. So when something does change during your birth, you can have better confidence that you can still own your birth.