Birth Plans are BS

Birth Plans are BS


“Complete your birth plan.”

Throughout my first pregnancy, I continued to avoid this item on my pre-baby to-do list. I had a million other things to worry about and it was the last thing I felt like dealing with it. But I eventually bit the bullet and looked into this birth plan thing.

A quick look at an online template had me instantly overwhelmed. Take, for example, the question about whether (among other options) I’d like labor augmentation:  first attempted by natural methods such as nipple stimulation, performed by membrane stripping, or performed with prostglandin gel.

I didn’t even know what the hell prostglandin gel was, much less whether it was okay for them to use it to induce me. Should I really be the one making these decisions? Isn’t that what people go to medical school for? 

Beyond the questions themselves, I just got this gnawing feeling that the whole birth plan thing was a sham. I tried to picture the frantic hospital scene, and the doctor shouting “the baby’s having trouble exiting the birth canal! Should we use forceps or the vacuum? Somebody grab the birth plan!”

I get it – pregnancy is a time filled with doubt and uncertainty, and the birth plan helps give us anxious mamas a sense of control. But newsflash: delivering a baby is not something you can choreograph.

Maybe you want to give birth in a dimly lit room while burning dried sage and listening to chanting Buddhist monks, and birth your baby in a pool of free-range goat’s milk. But if your baby is in danger and you end up needing an emergency C-section, everything about that precious birth plan goes straight down the toilet. It doesn’t ultimately help women to believe the myth that they can control how their baby’s birth happens.

I understand that good intentions underlie the whole birth plan thing. Mamas should go into the delivery educated about their options, and empowered to advocate for themselves if they feel uncomfortable with their physician or midwife’s recommendations.

So read up on methods of induction, and their risks and benefits. Research pain relief options, different positions for delivery, and the role of doulas. Figure out your hospital/birthing center’s policies on visitors, “rooming in” and “skin-to-skin.” Do your homework, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and stand up for yourself if your preferences aren’t being respected.

But ditch the birth plan.


2 thoughts on “Birth Plans are BS

  1. Oh my god. Honestly I was worried about my birth plan and I did write my methods of pain relief and how I wanted a water birth and all of this day dreamy things, but when the day came the birth plan literally was the last thing on my mind. It was a waste of time and it even prolonged my pain as the midwives would say “you’ve wrote on here that you didn’t want..” So I agree they are BS, nothing goes to plan on the day anyway. It’s nice to do research on the different pain reliefs, positions for birth and how you can have your baby for example through water birth, and have ideas in mind but writing one is time consuming and a waste of time.


    1. Exactly! I definitely don’t want to criticize moms who choose to do birth plans and find them helpful – what bothers me is this pressure as if birth plans are a critical thing that expectant moms *must* do! There is already SO much to do as an expectant mom, and I feel like the birth plan is an added stressor. Glad to hear it’s not just me :).

      Liked by 1 person

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