There are two sides of the coin when it comes to birth planning. Many people tell you that you can't go without it! It's crucial to the "success" of your birth. I'm not really sure how we are measuring success though, because from my point of view, every baby has to come out at some point! But I can see what they mean. The other side are the people saying, "meh! Birth never goes the way you plan so why even try!"
To the naysayers I say this:
Birth planning, in its own way is a form of nesting. When women are nearing their second and third trimesters as well as their babies "birth" day, we start to nest. Nesting is defined as "the overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby" according to americanpregnancy.org
We are an extension of our home and nesting helps us feel more prepared for things to come. That's exactly what birth planning does as well. Birth planning helps us seek out our individual needs as they are related to our birth experiences.
These things include how to prepare for a planned cesarean, drug free birth options, breastfeeding and circumcision. There's something about bringing a new, tiny, fragile human being into this world that relies 100% on you, that can turn the most prepared of adults into a nervous wreck. Birth planning (and a postpartum doula) can help!
It's true that birth doesn't always go as planned. Emergency cesarean births happen. Babies needing a little help after birth happen. One of the best things about birth planning is that it allows you to look at every possible option and scenario and think "what would we do if this happened?"
I read an article the other day about a family who's infant needed to be in the NICU for a few days after birth and the mother was also experiencing some complications. Dad didn't know where to go or what to do! This type of scenario is just what needs to be discussed pre-birth.
Sometimes birth planning brings up hard, but necessary conversations and it can be important to explore those. Birth plans can also bring up things you never even thought about, including seeding. What the heck is seeding? If you plan to have a cesarean birth, this may be something that you want to ask your doctor about.
Lastly, birth planning gives you an expectation with an understanding that these things are not hard and fast rules. It helps families deal more fully with the chance that things may not go the way you planned them, but that that's ok. It rids us of the guilt we may feel because things didn't go "perfectly".
Some people may laugh and tell you birth plans are silly but I'm here to tell you that you have a right to be prepared in whatever way that means for your family. If your the type of person who is comfortable walking in and taking whatever birth throws at you, good for you! You're gonna rock it! If you are the type of person that needs to have every minute planned out. Good for you! You're gonna rock it.
No matter where you are with your birth plan, remember that birth is a mysterious and wonderful experience and that no matter what happens, you are going to be a great mom and a great dad. You've got this!