Why I’m Not Having a Birth Plan

When I was pregnant with the gremlin I remember printing off a recommended birth proforma and writing out my so-called birth plan. There were tonnes of questions. Who did I want there? Did I want pain relief? Did I want hubby to pass the baby to me? Pretty big decisions but in my mind, some, very hard to control. All my NCT friends were filling one out. The major parenting websites recommended making your decisions. You needed to give a copy to the midwife…really? In the throes of labour…really???

Whilst sitting, answering all the questions, l remember thinking why am I doing this?! I knew how I wanted my birth to be; probably like the majority of all first time mums. Natural, no pain relief, no intervention, candles (I jest), back massage, my iTunes playlist, snacks, cool new pjs and my hubby and Mum present.

Turns out first time I was lucky…very lucky. I got my natural birth. I stayed at home until I was 8cm dilated, jumped into the birth pool and the gremlin was born not long later. However, there was no sign of the candles and music and if anyone dared to rub my back they were getting murdered! However, I actually did follow the majority of ‘plan’, despite my initial doubts.

But so many friends I knew didn’t get this. Intervention, induction and C Sections; words that are probably never even suggested on a birth plan happened instead. For some planning birth is like trying to plan a day with your toddler. Chaotic, unpredictable and under no circumstances, your fault if it all goes tits up (toddlers eh?).

I just don’t think you can plan a birth. I’m very much a believer in if you are destined to have a natural birth; you can do it and fingers crossed it will happen. There is nothing you can do if there are complications on the horizon (this is what I was telling myself if Piglet was breech). Birth plans can have some aspects that are important, like who you would like present and who will be cutting the cord and would you like to deliver the placenta naturally? But a lot is in the lap of the Gods. This is when I feel a rigid plan can cause more damage than good, especially if it goes wrong. How many spontaneous night’s out have you had that have just been plain awesome but the big ones you have planned have just been a bit meh? I think we can learn a lot about this for labour! When a rigid birth plan that you have set your heart on goes wrong, it can be devastating.

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So don’t do it. I’m controlling. I like things to be perfect. I like to succeed but labour isn’t a competition to be the strongest, the fastest, the best. It’s about birthing a healthy little thing you have carried for 9 months. I have been told not to worry second time around by so many but I am worrying a little. There are no guarantees all will be smooth second time around. I’m hoping for my second birth to be at my local midwife-led unit, to be quicker and as natural as possible but there will be no birth-plan as such. I’m happy to try and relinquish some control and let nature take its course. I can’t fully remember the pain; mother nature is crafty. All I can remember is my reaction to it and the birth itself so I am hoping to be in the same mindset and state when Piglet is on her way. But you just never know!!

How about you? Did you have a birth plan and if so, did you stick to it?

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45 Comments

  1. September 5, 2016 / 7:05 am

    I agree, birth can be very unexpected, all three of my didn’t go to ‘plan’. My fist I wanted a home birth – she was born in the hospital 5weeks early. Second I wanted hospital birth – he was see delivered at home with no midwife or medical staff present and my recent birth went toys up altogether and she was born 11weeks early footling breech. Next time round I hoping I will have more control over the whole birth but not counting on it. Most if the Birthing plan is a waste of time because it usually doesn’t go the way you expect. #fartglitter

  2. September 5, 2016 / 7:35 am

    I’ve never seen the point in having a plan as you just don’t know how painful it will be, how long it will be etc. All I’ve known is that a c section was always a last resort, I’ve always wanted natural births mainly for a quicker recovery. I also knew this time round it’s didn’t want pethidine as it made me hallucinate when I had Oliver. I hope you have an easy delivery! #MarvMondays
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  3. September 5, 2016 / 7:55 am

    This is how I felt before my first birth, my ‘plan’ was whatever it took to get baby here safely. Turns out that was an emergency c-section. Second time I didn’t have a plan but I did write out my preferences. And I actually found it helpful as it meant that I felt more in control and had a focus. Again it didn’t work out as I ended up with another emergency c-section, but I got to labour in the pool, would have refused continous monitoring (if there hadn’t been meconium in my waters), and I was able to see my son being born. So I do think it’s helpful to know what you do and don’t want. Best of luck with your upcoming birth, second labours are meant to be easier (mine was fab until the last hour) xx

  4. September 5, 2016 / 8:05 am

    I think with my first I was advised to write a birth plan – which went out of the window when I went into labour. My second I didn’t bother, there was no point, I obviously wanted a natural birth (which I had) but was happy to go with the flow and follow my midwife’s advice. #marvmondays
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  5. Nige
    September 5, 2016 / 8:38 am

    Giving birth can change very quickly and having a plan is sometimes a waste of time I think I agree with you not to bothered the girls were born by c-section so taking out of em’s hands but we had a huge audience #lol

  6. September 5, 2016 / 12:47 pm

    First time round my birthplan was like an essay, soon went out the window though. Second time with Elarna I wrote very little on what I wanted other than an epidural if synto was mentioned! I also wanted baby cleaned before being handed to me and again that changed as soon as she was born she was given to me and I’m truly thankful for that 🙂 If and that is a big IF there is a next time I probably won’t write anything ha! Go with the flow hun 🙂 Popping over from #marvmondays

  7. September 5, 2016 / 9:55 pm

    I totally agree with you. With my first pregnancy I wrote a birth plan and the midwife didn’t even look at it. I ended up having a water birth which was amazing but wasn’t part of my plan. I reallly want a water birth this time again but don’t think i’ll bother writing a big plan..will just ask the midwife if the pool is free!xx #fartglitter
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  8. September 5, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    I agree, you can’t control what happens in birth and it is really important that you just trust the medical professionals and let them do what they think is best. I did have a birth plan. Both times. Mine was quite descriptive. But it needed to be. I needed to talk about my depression and how I reacted in stressful situations. Why and how I needed to be communicated to. And with Little Miss H, although she was born naturally, a lot happened that I could not have anticipated. I just let the docs and midwives get in with their jobs. But with Little Mister H everything went exactly to plan and it was wonderful. I personally think that birth plans are a good guideline. But a woman needs to understand that giving birth is an act of nature and can’t be controlled no matter how hard you try. Great post lovely! Hugs Lucy xxxx
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  9. September 6, 2016 / 10:19 am

    I was obsessed with my birth plan for my first labour but unfortunately nothing went to plan – I had to be induced, no water birth, 3 day labour resulting in an emergency c-section. I was devastated I didn’t get the birth I’d planned at first, then I realised that there wasn’t anything I could do about it and I got a healthy baby which is all that mattered. Having said that – I would still do a birth plan next time. I need to have some sense of control, and having a birth plan does that for me. I just will be more realistic that it could all go wrong, but I believe having a plan will give me a focus and therefore help me cope with any obstacles that may come my way! #marvmondays
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  10. September 7, 2016 / 6:46 am

    Hey lovely, sending you the biggest hug EVER. Thank you for writing this and hopefully encouraging other parents to be not to have a birth plan. It’s the biggest and only advice I pass onto friends and family who are about to give birth for the 1st time.

    It took me a good part of my maternity leave to get over the fact my plan never went to, well plan. If I hadn’t been so adamant about a birth pool, my emergency c section wouldn’t have been such a shock.

    I’m all for lovely pjs (however I recommend a night dress as my fancy pjs felt like they were cutting my section scar in half) and yummy food afterwards. So am after birth plan is more up my street, haha.

    Enjoy mat leave. Rather jealous X

  11. September 7, 2016 / 8:04 am

    I didn’t have a birth plan either… I just went with the flow that day… even with the second one where I was already booked an elective C-section, it’s still didn’t came as planned with the date as she arrived one day early, lol. Good luck on your delivery soon! looking forward to seeing pictures of baby. #bestandworst
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  12. September 7, 2016 / 9:44 am

    I didn’t have a birth plan with any of my five, I just wanted the baby out in the safest, easiest way possible! The only thing that I knew I didn’t want was an epidural, which is ironic because now I am booked in for an epidural to repair the bulging discs in my back from having so many kids!! Good luck on your delivery, I’m very much about going with the flow! #bestandworst
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  13. September 7, 2016 / 9:58 am

    I totally agree with you.
    Birth plans are so overated! No one has a crystal ball, anything can happen and put paid to that perfect birth plan, leaving you feeling really disappointed.
    Nature will take it course – God help us!!
    big love and good luck,
    L
    xxx
    #bestandworst

  14. September 7, 2016 / 10:09 am

    Great post! I never had a birth plan. During pregnancy I kept putting it off and thought I’d do it at my 36 week appointment. By the time that rolled around I was already in hospital being induced for pre eclampsia so any birth plan would have gone out of the window anyway! I don’t regret it though; I was relaxed and took a go with the flow approach and I think that contributed to such a nice induction experience and not needing epidural. I wouldn’t bother with a birth plan next time either! #bestandworst
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  15. September 7, 2016 / 10:13 am

    Had I written a birth plan (which I didn’t) I’d have said I want to be as active as possible, on my feet a lot to keep things moving. no lying on a bed! A water birth if I could. And I was happy to have an epidural (I’m not big on pain). I didn’t bother writing that down though as I knew I couldn’t have any of if – except the epidural! My medical background meant I was stuck on the bed with 4 cannulas in me. Water birth was a definite no go! As it was there were complications and I had forceps. I think it’s important to go in with no expectations as so much of labour is out of your control. Great post #bestandworst
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  16. September 7, 2016 / 11:09 am

    When I eventually get round to number 3, I would love so much to just be left alone to go into labour naturally. To be at home and then realise it’s starting like you see on TV all the time. If I really, really could have my own way, I’d love and active labour followed by a water birth however… if the last 2 are anything to go by, I will spend the 3rd trimester in and out of hospital and I’ll be induced or something. Hey ho, as long as the baby arrives safely, I don’t think you can ask for anything more.
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  17. September 7, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    I had a birth plan both times, but I was also realistic that it would probably not go to plan, so I wasn’t upset that I didn’t really end up following it. I do think it’s important to at least have a chat with your partner, so that they know what you want. For example I really did not want forceps unless it was really necessary. But if it had been, I would have gone with it as a safe delivery is the most important thing. I wanted a water birth, but I had a TENS machine and there was absolutely NO way I was giving that up to go in the water! I really hope you get a nice quick birth again Sarah xx #BestandWorst
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  18. September 7, 2016 / 1:25 pm

    I think you’ve got a brilliant way of looking at it. I had a birth plan with my first and I swear to God – every single item listed as “I don’t want” I got. With a few added extras that I didn’t even realise that I didn’t want! Second time around I was adamant that I wanted to go to a midwife led unit (to the extent of signing disclaimers as I’d had a hemorrhage with Miss Tot and so was risking things somewhat by declining consultant led care). Other than that one specific demand I had no plan whatsoever, and ended up having what I can only describe as the “perfect” birth with The Boy. I think you’re so right in that it is generally beyond our control, but I think that if you embrace that and at least feel confident and comfortable you are already winning. Hope everything goes really well for you lovely xx #bestandworst
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  19. September 7, 2016 / 1:46 pm

    My birth plan was – Get this baby out of me safely! I had no idea what to expect and didn’t really think about giving birth in as much detail as I perhaps should have. Maybe if I paid more attention I would have got the TENS machine to work, instead of throwing it against the wall in a rage when I was having contractions and couldn’t put it on 🙂 #bestandworst
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  20. September 7, 2016 / 1:53 pm

    Keep that laid back approach, you have been there and done it, of course it won’t be the same, they never are but putting pressure on ourselves to give birth a certain way, is crazy, be as organised and prepared as you can but just go with it, we really shouldn’t make a scary and painful, yet quite incredible experience more difficult than you need be. I have been through the experience 3 times, all I wanted was lots of pain relief and nothing went to plan really but with the support of wonderful people and of course my amazingly clever body I ended up with 3 pretty perfect children. Good luck x #bestandworst

  21. September 7, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    With BP I had “kind of a plan”, I knew I didn’t want specific drugs but I’d take the epidural if I needed it. Other than that I just wanted it to be easy (don’t we all!). It turned out to be 17 hours of agonising pain, epidural (that didn’t work), and eventually he arrived.
    With LP it couldn’t have been more different. I awoke at 3am and knew it was time, we barely had enough time to get to the hospital before he was born. I arrived at the hospital and 30 minutes later he was here. I had only gas & air, and even that was minimal, he just popped right out!
    To be honest I think having a plan, while it feels helpful can actually cause more problems than it’s worth. Like you said, Mother Nature is in control with that one. Not you.
    Hope all goes well for you lovely. xxx

  22. September 7, 2016 / 2:48 pm

    I had no birth plan & had done no research whatsoever. I didnt want to know because I knew if I did I would do nothing but worry about it, so I went into it completely naive. I still think it was the best decision for me.
    I ended up having a completely natural birth with only gas & air. I was lucky. It was all very quick aswell.
    Wishing you lots of luck with your birth this time around. I really hope it goes smoothly for you. #bestandworst
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  23. September 7, 2016 / 4:52 pm

    I don’t blame you one bit. I didn’t bother with a birth plan as such. I had noted down things I would have liked to happened. MLBU. Only Gas & Air. No injection for the placenta. But I was always prepared for that to change. Good thing to My waters broke at home but I wasn’t contracting. There was mec. So MLBU was out of the window. The birth was OK. But there was a minor emergency at the end and amongst all the people and the panic a well meaning midwife gave me the injection I didn’t want before I knew what was happening. But you know what. It was all fine. #Bestandworst
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  24. September 7, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Such a great post! I totally agree and was of the completely same mind set the second time round. First time round I wrote one and had the worst labour you could imagine – 48 hours long and ever single drug you can imagine and ending in intervention. Second time round I figured out what you have figured out, didnt write one, but focused on having a positive mindset and refreshing some of my hypnobirthing techniques (by myself) and had the best labour I could have imagined and hoped for. I dont think they are neccessary and if anything make you feel worse if your labour is difficult. I wish I’d realised that the first time round as it would have saved me feeling rubbish about my labour for the first year after the little lady arrived! Emily #bestandworst #MarvMondays

  25. September 7, 2016 / 10:13 pm

    I agree to an extent, but in my head my ‘plan’ was followed… I wasn’t offered an epidural or anything more than gas and air (perfectly in line with my birth plan), and hubby was first to hold little one and cut the cord. They also did delayed cord cutting, and I got the injection for the placenta…. again all as per my birth plan and no real questions to me, just confirmation of we’ll do this if this is still what you want. So, in my head it made it all seamless and easy… the fact it was rather quick *until the final stage) may also play a part too. I did end up with two episiotomies which were not on my list, but little one was being a right pickle!

    I think next time I’d just make a list of those same things so they knew xyz as I flew in the door and gave birth (if it’s true second babies come quicker!). Basically, it’s what ever you’re comfortable with, good luck whenever little one makes an appearance xx
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  26. September 7, 2016 / 10:31 pm

    My first labour was a complete nightmare, nothing like I had planned, so I made no plans with my second. It was a n easier birth anyway, but just as you said there eas no dissapointment that things hadnt gone as I had planed. #bestandworst
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  27. September 8, 2016 / 7:24 am

    This is a great post Sarah. I remember doing a birth plan for Logan but I get it fairly loose as I knew labour is unpredictable. I stated I just wanted gas and air but I still want the option to have pain relief if needed I stated that I wanted just Matt there and for him to cut the cord I also wanted Logan cleaned before being passed to me. I was also asked how I felt about intervention. And as far as I was concerned I was happy going with the flow if needed, So while I didn’t get the natural birth I wanted I wasn’t disheartened as my birth plan was going to plan except for Matt cutting the cord due to emergency C-Section ( I don’t think he was that bothered). This time round I don’t think I do a birth plan partly because I’m still in limbo as to whether a VBAC will even be an option for me due to a Low lying plancenta. If it doesnt move as my womb stretches by 32 weeks I will have to have a C-section anyway so no point in a birth plan.

  28. September 8, 2016 / 7:49 am

    I too had a birth plan with Sam; limited pain reief, water birth. I ended up with an induction, lots of pain relief and an emergency c section. I didn’t bother with one for the twins!!! #bestandworst
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  29. September 8, 2016 / 10:06 am

    Having a birth plan is always great in theory but I’ve noticed that hardly anyone sticks to them haha. I didn’t stick to mine, I always said I would and that I wouldn’t use pain relief etc… but that soon crumbled to dust when I was actually in labour. I tried my best to research a lot of things but I had to have an emergency c-section which wasn’t planned. Things change and I think people should be prepared for that of anything. Really great post! #bestandworst
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  30. September 8, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    I had a very detailed birth plan with BB and it all went out the window as I had to be induced, so I didn’t write anything at all for Little B and his birth was perfect, just as I wanted… So this time I’m not going to write one either! #marvmondays
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  31. September 8, 2016 / 7:08 pm

    Yes with the first I had a plan but with the second no. #bestandworst
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  32. September 8, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    My first one everything went wrong and didn’t tally up to my birth plan at all. Second time, my birth plan I did not follow. Nearly had it at home which I didn’t plan but complications I had to get rush to hospital. I think lose plans ish but not concrete, I think you should play by ball. As we all no one has control as baby comes when it wants or forced out, lol X #bestandworst

  33. September 9, 2016 / 7:10 am

    I had a birth plan first time round, it involved a midwifery led centre and a natural water birth. My little one had other ideas and stayed breech with low fluid and I had to have a c-section, I was devastated and felt I had missed out. Second time round I ditched the plan too!
    #Bestandworst
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  34. September 9, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    Well I had hoped for a natural birth, minimal pain relief and ideally a water birth.. But who knew I had an odd shaped womb and was destined for a csection. Second time round I still hoped for the best even though I knew my chances were slim and yep another csection. I think you’re right that holding too firmly to your plan is likely to lead disappointment. I would have preferred a natural birth but it wasn’t to be and it is better for baby to arrive safely in whatever way that may be, than to cling desperately to a plan that may not turn out to be the right thing for you. Its no wonder youre a little nervous but I’m sure you will do just fine when the time comes lovely xxx
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  35. September 10, 2016 / 8:05 am

    I agree! I had one with Archie that I was adamant about and it all flew out of the window. This ring time I just some to my midwife about a couple of things and she asked me some questions, no pressure! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
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  36. September 12, 2016 / 5:57 pm

    I completely agree. I actually think birth plans are at best pointless and at worst emotionally damaging. All manner of things can change or go wrong and having a plan that didn’t come off will just make mums feel like a failure, IMO xx #bestandworst
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  37. September 13, 2016 / 10:20 pm

    You do right. After 4 births I can say that none were the same. They all got here differently and with each one I was more open to just go with the flow.. that and take the epidural haha
    All the best – not long now..eeeeekkkk xx
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  38. September 14, 2016 / 2:18 pm

    My birth plan carried every single outcome and possibility and exactly how I wanted it, colour coded and everything. I was very organised. Everything went to crap though and I had an emergency c-section so next time around I’ll probably not bother as I imagine I’ll end up with another section anyway! #bestandworst
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