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Birthing plans are utter nonsense, aren't they?

(61 Posts)
thingymaboob Sat 14-Oct-17 14:10:34

I'm pregnant with my first but I'm a paramedic and I've delivered my fair share of babies, some of whom needed resuscitating and some of the mothers needed other various interventions. I guess people don't call Paramedics unless the shit is hitting the fan! I have also delivered others where is was a text book delivery and everyone was fine so I know it's not all doom and gloom! I now work for a large hospital trust with a big maternity unit and I attend obstetric emergencies as part of my job. So, I know my experience is very extreme. I have been asked to think about a birthing plan but I think birthing plans are nonsense because nothing goes to plan and the midwife just laughed when I said "my plan is to have a baby and no one die, I also want to be a stones throw away from the obstetricians and anaesthetist and to have as much medicine and medical intervention as possible". I cannot stand all this hippy dippy nonsense and la la la head in the clouds. I want a practical pragmatic approach, but why do people think I'm being negative?!

LillyPillly Sat 14-Oct-17 14:11:34

I think you're spot on. I'm onto my 4th child and I gave up birthing plans after the first....

Lules Sat 14-Oct-17 14:18:45

Well it depends what you put in it doesn't it? My first birth was fairly awful but the birth plan I filled out asked questions like where do you want to give birth? (mlu, labour ward or home), who do you want with you? What kind of pain relief do you want? (I said no pethidine but yes to gas and air and epidural, which is what I got) Do you want to breast feed etc

All sensible things you should think about beforehand.

fruitofthenight Sat 14-Oct-17 14:22:01

I never filled a birth plan out with my first, I didn't know how I could plan for something I'd never done before? I obviously had ideas about pain relief and such but it's easy enough to communicate with the midwife or have my birthing partner do it for me.

Moanyoldcow Sat 14-Oct-17 14:23:13

I'm with you. When I arrived in the Labour ward after a 5 day induction the midwife asked about birth plan and I said 'nope'.

She laughed (in a nice way) and said 'ok' and asked me how I felt about drugs, vitamin k, skin to skin and DH cutting the cord.

Then nothing happened for 12 hours and I had an EMCS anyway.

This time round I'll do the same - it's a waste of time.

TheKidsAreTakingMySanity Sat 14-Oct-17 14:23:21

It shouldn't be called a birth plan. It's birth wishes or birth hopes. I've given birth 3 times and whilst they did go as well as they possibly could have, (very run of the mill, by the book) at the time of giving birth I would have sold my husband for an epidural whether it was on my plan or not. And had I got one, I would not have regretted it later. Alas my birthing hospital didn't offer them.

LazyDaisy6 Sat 14-Oct-17 14:25:54

My birth plan said no pethidine, no episiotomy, no instruments and no epidural. I had all but the epidural (which I would have had if I could) and if anyone had told me at the time 'you said in your birth plan you didn't want this' I would have screamed at them. smile
I think they are sometimes useful but I found my midwife then questioned some of my decisions - for example I wrote that I wanted a water birth on the midwife led unit but once in the water I felt something wasn't quite right. Every time I said I wanted to get out and get transferred back to the delivery suite she kept quoting my birth plan to me angry

VapersNest Sat 14-Oct-17 14:29:10

Mine was two typed A4 sides of utter la-la-land nonsense. I ended up having an EMCS and getting high on lovely, lovely morphine for 24 hours afterwards grin.

Didn't bother with one second time around.

misskatamari Sat 14-Oct-17 14:30:25

I don’t really agree. It’s true that you can predict what will happen during labour, but I don’t see anything wrong in having an idea of what you would ideally like to happen and what you would like the environment to be like. I did hypnobirthing with both my labours. First in hospital and things didn’t end up as I would have ideally liked at the end, but I was prepared to follow whatever path my labour took, so thankfully managed to stay calm despite things being very difficult. With my second I had a home water birth, with a wonderful doula, and it was a lovely experience. I strongly believe in women having confidence and trust in their own bodies and being given the tools not to fear birth.

There will always be people who suffer complications and yes having a really firm idea of how birth is going to be isn’t good, as it inevitably won’t go exactly as you plan/imagine. But I think a birth plan can be a useful tool. It can help your partner advocate for you as they know what you would like to have happen, and it can give you reassurance and confidence. I think the important thing is to just know that a birth plan isn’t a rigid list of things that will definitely happen, and to have the right frame of mind going into labour, to accept that things might happen differently to how you imagine

Csd17 Sat 14-Oct-17 14:35:02

Omg so true. On my birthing plan I wrote all this shit about quiet midwives and music and water and hypnobirthing and not being asked if I want pain relief, but when my contractions started ramping up I asked for my birth plan, crossed it all out and wrote EPIDURAL in big letters on the page. Never got the chance to have an epidural as my baby came super quickly.. but my birth plan went out the window.. especially when I couldn’t even sit on the birthing ball I had so keenly asked for.

bigfatbumfreak Sat 14-Oct-17 14:36:09

Yes. Because when it goes tits up and all the bells are clanging it mean nothing.

No, because you could have a lovely empowered birth, the key is prepare for the best.....lets them deal with the worst.

CamperVamp Sat 14-Oct-17 14:37:37

Birthing plans are not meant to magic you up your perfect birth.

They are there to lay out what approaches / contingencies you would prefer to try, what your ideal scenario is, so that the HCP s know how best to help.

One of my births went way off what I would have liked, but it meant that the mw consulted me on issues I had specified. And explained the reasons when they did something different. Which really helped me not to feel out of control .

I got irritated with the people who scoffed about birth plans. I KNOW / KNEW births often do not go to plan. But your general preferences and approach can set a context.

TiramisuQueenoftheFaeries Sat 14-Oct-17 14:41:24

No, they aren't. They often don't go entirely to plan, or rather to hopes, but that doesn't make them worthless. They allow a woman to express in advance what her preferences are on important issues, including managed 3rd stage, vitamin K etc. They also allow women who have experienced abuse and trauma to record what they need and what they are not willing for under any circumstances.

I will be making one second time around as I know even better now what my preferences are, what helps me, and what's important to me.

In obstetrics I think you inevitably get a slightly skewed view of birth - you are by definition seeing the high risk ones and the ones that have already gone pear-shaped.

VapersNest Sat 14-Oct-17 14:44:37

I get what you're saying Camper, but for those of us who have really very difficult births where we absolutely couldn't be in control, a 'plan' does seem rather silly in retrospect.

I mean, I could say no pethidine/epidural and I want to give birth on all fours and deliver the placenta naturally to the sound of whale music .... but when it all goes tits up and you end up getting blue lighted to theatre, its meaningless grin

Piewraith Sat 14-Oct-17 14:49:48

Obviously things don't often go to plan during birth, so an overly detailed plan isn't really needed. But this seems to have swung the other way now. Anyone who wants to retain the slightest bit of consent or even be informed about the dangerous and agonising medical procedures about to inflicted upon them is derided as a stupid hippy in la la land who probably wants dolphins to deliver the baby or something.

Maybe a middle ground where people for their research and also remain flexible is best.

Foggymist Sat 14-Oct-17 14:59:08

Think of it as birth preferences, not a birth plan. I am hoping that I can have certain things during/after the birth, some "hippy dippy" as you call it hypnobirthing stuff because last time was a prolonged emcs shitstorm and ideally I want that to be different but I obviously won't refuse necessary intervention. I want formula only to be given with my/our consent if necessary, unlike last time when they decided. I want skin to skin at birth, but again if this isn't possible like last time then so be it. Preferences, not a rigid plan.

Ohwell14 Sat 14-Oct-17 14:59:27

I never even bothered with one. First baby. But I did have an image in my head of sleeping through most of the pain and only waking when my waters went.
Hahahaha, bollocks.
Two days of contractions but only 2cm gone, in agony, no sleep for 72 hours. They finally broke my waters when I got to 3cm as I was crying my eyes out and couldn't bear it anymore.
Much better once the drugs kicked in (for about half an hour) then agony again. Impretty sure the epidural didn't work but I had no other experience to compare it to.
I don't think you can every be properly prepared, no matter how much you plansmile

whereisforever Sat 14-Oct-17 15:00:24

I think having a general idea of what you would like is not a bad thing. Especially if there are certain issues you are really concerned about, it's a good opportunity to talk things through with your midwife/doctor.
But all women should be aware that it's only a 'guideline' in regards to a normal labour/birth.
Unfortunately our bodies don't always conform to the perfect birthing woman notion, no matter what is written on a piece of paper or in your head.

RoryItsSnowing Sat 14-Oct-17 15:04:49

Agreed on birthing 'plans' but I think writing your birthing 'preferences' can be very important.

Assuming you make it to hospital to deliver, thinking about what you would like to happen ideally (e.g. Water birth, staying upright not on a bed, delayed cord clamping) and what you would consent to (e.g. Vitamin K injection, episiotomy if required etc) and having this all written down on a single sheet ready to hand to your midwife means everyone knows what sort of labour you'd prefer and can work to make that happen.

This helped me massively in feeling as in control of the situation as I could and I completely believe this contributed largely to me having a very positive birth experience.

MenorcaSunrise Sat 14-Oct-17 15:11:50

I also wanted a "natural" waterbirth using hypnobirthing instead of painkillers. I ended up 2 weeks past my due date, induced, begging for pain killers, epidural, and ended up with an EMCS.

I do think the birth plan was worth doing in terms of thinking through all my options beforehand. I thought I would be flexible too, but I still burst into tears when told a water birth was not possible.

My next birth plan will be a cesarean - I just don't think I am built to give birth sadly.

SlowSlothSlow Sat 14-Oct-17 15:16:03

I don't think they're a waste of time at all. We did hypnobirthing and I had a very simple straight forward quick birth. My midwife read my plan and took my wishes on board. I wasn't for one minute stupid enough to think that if there were complications and an emergency situation that I would have gotten my wishes.

OP I don't get why you'd say now that you want loads of pain relief, it might not be that bad and gas and air will be enough, gas and air may not be enough but why not hope for the best?

This time I will be handing the midwife the same birth plan with the addition of longer time for skin on skin as soon as I give birth, that's the only thing I'll add to it.

silkybear Sat 14-Oct-17 15:22:02

Don't have one then...your post makes it sound like people who fill one out are clueless idiots. You may have witnessed lots but you cannot know what its truly like until you go through it yourself. im due my second and i dont want diamorphine after a bad reaction last time, and i dont want forceps because my friend in her 20s has to use a colosomy bag for the rest of her life because of their use. shit happens and plans change but it doesn't mean you can't have preferences for how you are treated. not everyone is asking for whale music hmm

Nonibaloni Sat 14-Oct-17 15:23:13

I with other posters. I simply couldn't imagine what I'd want in that situation, I like a bath but there's not usually I person coming out of me. I ignored the birthing plan.
In the end I didn't have any pain relief and it was all over pretty quickly. But there wasn't a water pool available or an anesthetist (was a record birth week) so wouldn't have mattered what was on my plan.
I'd imagine you've seen so much you're more prepared than you think (and less prepared )

RosyPony Sat 14-Oct-17 15:25:33

OP your birth plan sounds word for word like mine!

Aa far as I'm concerned I will do what the highly trained medical professionals tell me to do, it worked the first time!

Rikalaily Sat 14-Oct-17 15:34:05

Yes they are pointless, because most of the time, even when things are going hunky dory and you could easily have the few simple things you have requested, the staff ignore your wishes anyway. That's why I had my last baby at home and why I'll be having this one at home too.

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