Giving Birth: To Plan or Not to Plan?
There are two groups of pregnant women.
There are those who like to prepare for birth, they might do a hypnobirthing course from 24 weeks and practise their breathing with their partner every evening. They’ll complete their birthing plan in their yellow notes; ready to discuss with their midwife.
And then there are those who bury their head in the sand. Who are so focused on getting pregnant that they forgot the baby would also need to come out at some point. Who would rather think about anything else rather than giving birth…
That’s me. I’m those people.
Should I have gone to Classes?
I declined invitations from lovely local businesses offering me tasters for hypnobirthing. I chose not to sign up for any NCT classes. I purchased a Positive Birth Company course, and then left it unopened in my inbox.
My birth plan was to not have a plan. Because they never go to plan right? So what’s the point?
I’d seen plenty of friends plan for a peaceful waterbirth, only to end up with an emergency caesarean.
But then two things happened.
Firstly, I received a book from a friend. And I actually read it. It was The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hill. It set out the science around labour and birth in a simple, non-judgmental way and I began to consider that making a plan may not be such a bad idea.
And then Susanna from The Hampshire Birthing Company contacted me, and asked whether I’d like to trial a new session of hers: a Birth Planning Power Session. This would be some time for Susanna to talk me through the various options surrounding labour and birth, and to document my preferences for Plan A, but also Plan B.
At 37 weeks pregnant, I realised that labour could start at any moment and that I needed to face into it so I went to Susanna’s home for the session.
A Plan to Plan
Susanna is a mum of 2 and a qualified KG Hypnobirthing teacher.
She’s also friendly, welcoming and does not pass any judgment on your preferences. We spent around 2 hours working through all the possibilities of labour, using the visual aids created by Milli Hill. This covered everything from induction of labour and pain relief to discovering the baby’s sex and the golden hour post-birth.
There were topics that were new to me such as when to cut the cord (it doesn’t have to be immediately like it is in the movies!). And things that I thought I knew I wanted like a water birth, but by talking it through with an expert, I realised I didn’t.
I felt able to ask lots of questions, without feeling stupid.
It can’t only be me whose ‘knowledge’ of labour was based on Rachel in Friends?! Susanna explained everything at a level I was able to understand, and she really helped me to feel more empowered in the decision making. The session ended with me feeling positive about my upcoming labour, and that I would feel confident to speak up for myself.
On a practical note, the session also included a PDF of my preferences for a variety of outcomes which I could share with my partner and healthcare professionals.
If you’re in the ‘bury your head in the sand’ camp like I was, then I would definitely recommend this type of session. And that’s not just because Susanna makes the best chocolate cherry brownies I’ve tasted (although it helps!).
Did my planning pay off? Did the birth go to plan? You’ll just have to wait for my next article for the answer to that…
The Birth Planning Power Session is normally £120. To book a session, or to see the other birth-related services Susanna offers across Hampshire, visit https://www.hampshirebirthing.com/
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