“There’s no sense in making a birth plan; they go out the window every time,” any expecting parent is bound to hear. This sentence is quite upsetting to Boundless Birth as it encourages the idea that laboring people have lost their bodily autonomy and shouldn’t even try to grasp a sliver of it. That simply isn’t true. Birth plans prepare the family for several scenarios in birth, giving them an upper hand when deciding their next step in the event things go awry. They also put control back into families and allow them to have a firm understanding of childbirth in general.
“But if so many people say they didn’t use their birth plan, doesn’t that mean they don’t work?” While it’s true some families choose to change their birth plans as labor approaches or dawns; they still equip families with the knowledge on how to change their birth plans.
It can be overwhelming when in the midst of labor, a healthcare provider that you may have never met before implies or outright says your birth plan needs to change. Many women are upset and even disturbed when after a birth that didn’t go according to plan, they are informed that there were other options not presented to them. By using this one sentence, you can shift the power back into your hands and ensure that changes in your birth plan are done with consent and the sense that you are doing the best thing for your family.
“Can This Wait 10 Minutes?” Your job from pregnancy to labor is to find a place of birth where you feel you can ask this question and get an honest answer. If a provider you trust believes that whatever condition your labor has gone into must be resolved in ten minutes, you will feel much more comfortable knowing that you put your all into the birth you wanted.
If your provider believes that you do have ten minutes, ask these questions, backed by LAMAZE International to make an informed decision for your next step.
Benefits- “What are the benefits of this intervention?” In order to weigh out the risks, you must first know what you can gain.
Risks- “What are the risks?” Be wary of a provider who claims there are no risks, or assures you they are worth it; that is not their decision to make. You can look at the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists or Evidence Based Birth to help you make a more informed decision.
Alternatives- “What alternatives are available at this facility?” While some Hospitals or Birth centers may have the ability to provide a specific intervention, others may not. It is important to understand what your birthing space offers. The sources mentioned above will also list common alternatives.
Intuition- Ask yourself or even your provider if you feel their intuitive input will be helpful to you “what does my intuition say?” If something feels wrong, perhaps you need more information or clarification. You may also just flat out not want the intervention your providers suggest. This is your body and your choice. You owe no one compliance.
Nothing- “what would happen if I did nothing?” If you were to let labor take its course as is, what is the most likely outcome? For some conditions like preeclampsia the result of doing nothing would be eclampsia, a serious and potentially fatal outcome. Other interventions may serve to speed up labor or “solve” a labor complication that you are comfortable with.
These letters spell “BRAIN.” Remember, when deciding on an intervention in labor, use your brain. You have the right to control your body. Having the tools to make an informed decision will allow you to keep your birth plan in its original state, or adjust it knowing it’s the best choice for you.
We hope you enjoyed this installment of Birth in Butte and are equipped to make fully informed decisions. Happy planning!
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