"A dream without a plan is just a wish"
- Katherine Paterson
Birth is nothing if not unpredictable.
Can you actually plan for it?
Birth has obstacles and challenges and requires a heck of a lot of surrender. BUT, that doesn't mean we have to walk into it unprepared.
This resource page is ever-evolving. My hope is that you find helpful information and tools to guide your unique adventure in pregnancy, birth and postpartum.
What is a birth plan?
A birth plan simply outlines your goals and preferences for your labor and delivery. For you, it is an exercise in learning about your options, and deciding what an ideal birth would look like for you. It is much easier to prepare for the "what if's" and decide how you'd like to handle them before you're in the emotional journey through childbirth. Creating a plan can also help you recognize any fears you have about your birth, give them the space and attention they need, and problem solve how you will manage those fears with your support team.
A birth plan is also a tool to communicate those preferences to your care providers, so they have a clear understanding of your wishes during birth. A well written birth plan is concise and easy for your care providers to understand, yet detailed enough to make sure all of your goals for labor, delivery and immediately after delivery are communicated.
I recommend printing copies for anyone who will attend your birth and discuss it with them well before your due date. Bring a few extra copies for your hospital/birth center staff once you check in.
Here are some things to consider when creating a birth plan
Local Childbirth Classes
Evidence Based Birth
Evidenced Based Birth has a lot of great, non-biased resources to learn about different birth methods and interventions. This class is taught by Joyce Dykema of Doula Joyce. You can learn more at www.evidencebasedbirth.com
Beautiful Beginnings Childbirth Class, taught by doula Mandi Campbell, is a 7-week comprehensive, modern approach to preparing for childbirth! Follow the link below to learn more and find upcoming classes
Practicing for Labor
While there is nothing quite like the sensations of labor and contractions, we do have some tools we can use to practice being uncomfortable and using coping skills to move through that. Labor is just as much a mindset challenge as it is a physical one. Check out this video for a labor practice exercise using ice cubes
Practicing meditation prenatally can help you to get in "the zone" when labor day comes. Just like you can exercise a muscle to make it stronger, so to can you exercise your ability to relax and be present with your body. I recommend using these meditations as you fall asleep. Bonus - visualize how you want your birth to go as you're listening. You might be surprised how close you get
(and for funzies, you can read about how I manifested my daughter's birth story using visualization - click here)
Recommended Reading Blog Post
If you're anything like me, you're ready to immerse yourself in ALL THE RESEARCHING during this pregnancy. Whether it's your first (or 15th), you know that there is always something new you can learn (or re-learn) to make this birth experience your best so far.
But there is SOOOOO much freaking information out there...especially when it comes to preparing for labor, delivery and postpartum. It can be super overwhelming to know where to start. But I got you, mama. I've put together a list of books I've read (so far), along with a short summary and review so you can decide whether or not to put it on your list (and whether it belongs at the top or the bottom of said list).
This post is living - which means every time I read a new book worth sharing, I will add it here, along with my review: what I liked, what I thought was lacking (if anything), and who I think would benefit most from reading it.