What to Do When Labor and Birth Don't Go As “Planned”
When things don't go exactly as planned and you're faced with decisions, use your B.R.A.I.N. and consider the following:
Benefits – What are the Benefits of this procedure/intervention?
Risks – What are the Risks associated with this procedure/intervention? If we agree to this, what else must happen?
Alternatives – What are the Alternatives to this procedure/intervention?
Intuition – What does your Intuition tell you?
Nothing – Can we have more time? What happens if we wait and do Nothing?
A birth plan won't ensure a satisfying labor. But it will help you decide what is most important to you, and which people will help you reach those goals. In her book Eyes-Open Childbirth: Writing a Meaningful Plan for a Gentle Birth, Amy Scott says:
“We cannot know the day or week labor will begin, how long it will last, exactly how it will feel, how we will react, or the health and sizes of our babies. What we can do, however, is educate ourselves about the vast array of possibilities and learn which are more likely to occur. We can decide what is ideal and what we will strive for, what are the means to creating the most conducive environment for such a birth, and which people can best help us to attain those birth arrangements. Finally, we can prepare our own bodies and hearts for the process.”
You may have to veer off your birth plan for a while. That's ok! Not everything has to go out the window! If you decided to get an epidural even though you planned not to, that doesn't mean that you can't have immediate skin to skin and delayed cord clamping. Or if the fetal heart rate decelerates for a time and you are no longer able to use intermittent monitoring, don't throw the birth plan out all together. Be flexible, but work to get back to your birth plan as soon as possible.
Wishing you a beautiful pregnancy and birth!