One of the things we often talk about in Positive Birth Movement Groups are the pros and cons of birth plans. Here are some thoughts about what the benefits of thinking about your birth before it happens can be from a couple of book reviews from Elizabeth’s blog.If you want to read the full book review posts or more about gentle family living or wool the blog is found here
My Birth Planning Journal from The Happy Birthing Company.
I agree so strongly with this statement on the back cover. “You can't predict what kind of birth you will experience, you can't really choose to have no complications, but you can stack the odds of getting your desired outcomes in your favour.” I prefer the language of birth preferences rather than plans, because I feel this better reflects the reality of birth. We might prefer not to have a medicalised delivery, but if we have informed ourselves about the circumstances under which one might be necessary, and explore how we might like it to go in such eventuality, we will surely be in a better position for a positive birth than if we only plan for the outcomes we want but face the situation we don't. This lovely little book functions as a set of prompts for exploring your own birth preferences. Whether you are starting with a clear idea of what sort of birth might be the right one for you, or if you are starting right at the beginning of the journey with no ideas at all, these prompts can really help you to make your own informed decisions about birth. This little book was a great tool for Husband and me in preparing for the birth of Baby 3. It provided the starting point for important conversations and decisions that we had to have, and I highly recommend expectant families use it in this way: as a guide and starting point for communication with each other and with care givers, or perhaps a doula. I think that the range of subjects mentioned will give every expectant parent something to think about, something they need to research further and inform themselves about. I hope this really takes off, because it has the potential to make a big difference to outcomes for mothers.
The Positive Birth Book
This book is a really fresh approach to thinking about pregnancy and birth. Milli starts the book by looking at how our society sees and portrays birth, and how this affects the ideas pregnant women have about their own approaching births. Then she settles into an honest description of what birth is actually like, taking the medical division of the three stages of labour (active labour; birth; birth of the placenta) and turning it into a fourteen-stage journey, plus an exploration of the experience of cesarean birth. Like any conventional book on birth there is a certain amount of myth expelling to be done, and there is a balanced discussion of the various coping strategies and methods of pain relief that most women can choose from during labour. What you won't find in a conventional birth book are Milli's two steel beams of choice: you have a choice; you have human rights in childbirth. These two are fundamental to improving women's experiences of childbirth. Time and time again I hear women describing how they are "not allowed" to do a particular thing in relation to their birth, be it give birth vaginally, carry past a certain gestation, or give birth in a place of their choosing. Doctors and midwives do not have the authority to tell women what to do with their bodies. Milli follows this statement of choice with a detailed discussion on how to make a birth plan that works for you, and what you might like to consider. She discusses equally different birth place options, and her "What if..." section can be a real help in working through any unexpected experiences along the way. Finally she ends with a section on "The Birth of a Mother," seeing the experience of birth through beyond the arrival of the baby. The amazing visual birth plan icons designed by Kate Evans help women to make their own choices and convey them to their care givers. You can download these icons for personal use (and for free) here. The BRAIN and HEART acronyms are great for helping women to feel in control when facing the unexpected