My goal as a childbirth educator and birth doula stands on education. As a teacher, I always had a plan on what I needed my students to accomplish that day. This plan was usually written out but, at the least, it was throughly thought through with bullet points to fall back on - before I entered the classroom with eager eyes upon me. If you are apart of any formal education system, you know how the push for a lesson plan that starts with the end goal and then backwards maps to develop the key points is a strong movement in education. Well, if you think about it - isn't a birth plan is just that? End goal - Have a baby.
The parents' job is to figure out HOW they want to get there.
In order to discover the HOW of your individual plan - you have to think about all the options you have. Now, remember that "options" could sometimes be an illusion depending on where your birthing. For example, at one area hospital a certain prostaglandin (A) is all they carry. They don't have another option. If you are in a birthing class and they are discussing various forms of induction and your instructor mentions the risks and benefits about both A and B and you choose B as your choice, you are going to have severe let down perhaps leading to a mental block and negative perception of your birth team when you find out the A is all the hospital you have chosen carries. Therefore, when you are considering your options to add to your birth plan, you need to KNOW whats there for you.
So, how do you do that if you are an everyday parent to be?
Well, you must educate yourselves! And HOW do you do that - get ready because here is the answer to the million dollar question -
You start to research your options!
In your research, as you hone into exactly what you have available, you are now creating a birth plan. You can find yourself making a decision about A verses B and then when you know beforehand the A is the only thing available, you research other ways to help your goals be met. This not only better prepares you for more satisfaction, it also begins to empower you to discuss your goals with your provider. And what happens when you discuss your goals?! You find out where they other people on your team are and learn how to better negotiate your wishes and GET RESULTS.
If you are a visible person, you are writing it down. If you are a verbal person, you are hearing and storing. Should you choose to bring a piece of paper to the hospital when you are in labor, thats your choice. Should you not, you and your partner now have a clear understanding of WHAT YOU WANT and in talking it through, you now have a better idea on HOW TO GET IT. Now you have created a plan based on informed choice and not solely on "oh, that sounds good."
This was just a a little piece of how to evidence based care. Join me in my next Evidence Based Birth® Workshop to learn it all!
**This blog post comes in the wake of the Alabama court ruling for Caroline Malatesta. Please read more about her $16 million ruling here and here. Knowing your rights is important. Standing up for them in the moment is whole other concept. Find your voice, hire a doula, empower yourself and your birth partner, talk to your providers and PLEASE always remember, Mom, you are the captain of this ship.**
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Cat is the founder of Birth Freely Birth Services. Her passion is empowering women through education and providing them with continuous labor support so they can have the birth they desire!