Birth Preferences

In The Good Old Days And Beyond

Back in the "olden days" women didn't have much say in how things were going to happen when it came to delivering their babies. They went into labor, someone with some sense was called and without much fanfare, but with a lot of pain, a child was brought into the world by the hands of a midwife or sometimes a doctor. The percentage of maternal and infant deaths was considerably higher during this time than they are today.

Then, we progressed to hospital births which featured the aid of a medical practitioner and anesthesia. Women were "put under", the baby was delivered and mother found out about things after the fact, when she woke up. Things continued to progress over time and today women are in control of the birthing process to a far greater degree than in the recent past.  They even have the advantage of modern medicine to aid where necessary. It's definitely a win-win for mother and baby.

The Advent Of The Birth Plan

Now there is yet another evolution in the process which may make the doctor a bit uncomfortable. It's called a birth plan and it is created to communicate to all people involved in the birth of a baby exactly what the desires of the mother and/or couple are when it comes to their child's birth. Even though it is "your baby" and you do have rights in terms of what happens to either or both of you in a hospital setting, the birth plan can present some challenges for medical professionals. Because of this fact, it is very important that you communicate clearly and effectively with your medical practitioner exactly what your wishes are and what your reasons are for choosing to do a birth plan.

Communication-The Key To Cooperation

It is important to communicate to the physician that you have chosen to make a birth plan in order to help ensure there will be cooperation and a response you are comfortable with should something go wrong. If your physician is offended or very resistant to the concept, then perhaps you should reconsider whether this provider is right for you. To help alleviate any sense of concern on the part of the medical practitioners, it is a good idea to think about the language of your plan. There are many online sources for birth plans which you can download and use as a guide, or you can create your own.

It's Not What You Say, It's The Way You Say It

We offer the following suggestions as a starting place in the preparation of your birth plan: Present your birth plan as requests rather than demands using such language as "I would prefer" and "if it becomes necessary" which tells your provider that you understand a change in direction may happen. Even using the term birth preferences as opposed to birth plan tells the hospital care team that you are not trying to tell them how to do their jobs. Being positive (we hope to) as opposed to negative (under no circumstances) is equally important.

Make an appointment to go over your birth plan (preferences) with your doctor or midwife and discuss things you may not be in agreement on. Together you will all be able to come to a workable plan which will be effective when you need it.


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