Even second births can be unpredictable. A woman may have a perfect labor that follows the birth plan to the letter and still have a second birth that is completely different. By keeping your plan flexible, you are not only protecting yourself from disappointment, but you are giving your care providers the freedom to help you no matter what the circumstances.
"Every woman would like to know when it will happen, how long it will take, and whether or not she really will need pain medicine," says Dr. Binkley. "Here are the definitive answers to these questions: It won't happen soon enough or it will happen before you're ready. It will take way too long or will be much faster than you thought; and it will hurt less or more than you expect. Some labors will be quick and uneventful, while others may take days and require medical intervention to accomplish the deed."
So having a birth plan is a good thing—being flexible about your plan is an even better thing.
6 Birth Plan Dos and Don'ts
- Do write down your ideal labor experience.
- Don't be bound by that ideal.
- Do discuss the plan with your doctor ahead of time.
- Don't be close-minded about your doctor's thoughts and ideas.
- Do as much as you can to follow the birth plan while in labor.
- Don't be rigid about possible changes.