Whether you are earlier on in your pregnancy, or getting close to that estimated due date…you have probably been asked about or told to form a birth plan. Whether you have a type A personality or you’re little more easy-going, forming a birth plan can be exciting, tedious, daunting, nerve-wrecking, and everything in between! Now don’t get me wrong, I love how birth plans get you thinking about things you may want or things you may not want…but planning a birth sounds like planning a wedding, and the two are nothing alike! No matter how much you plan and coordinate and organize…there are many things you just can’t control when it comes to birth! So rather than searching online for a birth plan and checking off the boxes, let’s instead explore your birth preferences.
Birth plan? Birth preferences? Aren’t they the same thing?
I love the term birth preferences. It is a way to learn about yourself and apply that to how you want to give birth, without the pressure of having a plan and trying to stick to it. Things are going to come up, things are going to change, things may not go as planned. But, when you have formed a solid foundation of birth preferences, you and your team can navigate each and every situation that arises.
In order to define your birth preferences, you must first figure out your birth philosophy. A philosophy is a framework of beliefs that set the foundation for your needs, wants and choices. How do you feel about birth? What is your experience with birth? When you look at images of birth and labor…what emotions do they evoke? What do you want your birth to be like? Maybe you know exactly where you stand when it comes to these questions, or maybe you have never asked yourself these questions before. I invite you to explore your feelings and thoughts, as you become empowered in owning your birth philosophy.
Once you feel comfortable with getting to know yourself, you will find that your preferences around birth come naturally. Figure out who you want on your birth team, where you feel most comfortable laboring and giving birth, how do you picture those moments right after giving birth? Get out a piece of paper and a pen and start to jot things down that come up. Maybe you heard about skin to skin and it’s benefits, write it down! Give yourself the freedom to create an experience that fits your needs. Finding clarity in the experience you want to create will serve as the ultimate guide in navigating a birth plan.
Ok, ok…take a few steps back towards the birth plan now! Look at your options, look at specific things that you can choose and see what fits with your preferences and ultimately your experience!
Dr. Morgan Oberstein owns and operates Connection Cafe: A Chiropractic Center in Union City, CA. She is certified in the Webster technique by the ICPA and she specializes in providing prenatal and pediatric care.