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When Your Birth Plan Doesn't Go As Planned

by Katlyn Joy
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When Your Birth Plan Doesn't Go As Planned

You are a planner. You love lists and feel satisfaction at knowing what comes next. Checking items off a to-do list is a joy. You have planned your trip to the hospital with two alternate routes and have separate bags packed for labor, hospital, Daddy and baby. You created the perfect birth plan.

Planning ahead is a wise choice but flexibility is something that cannot be overlooked when planning for your baby's birth. As any veteran parent will tell you, things will never go exactly as anticipated no matter how detailed the planning sessions are.

How To Prepare for the Unexpected

Relax.
Nothing is more important than maintaining a relaxed attitude about your baby's arrival. Being tense will make labor harder, discomfort more difficult to manage, and will mar your memory of the special moment. Try to keep a big picture perspective. The goal is a healthy baby and mother and everything else comes second to that.

Think of the unthinkable.
What if your doctor is out of town? What if you have to have a cesarean section or you must labor in bed? Whatever you fear might happen in your labor, by imagining that worst scenario in advance you take away much of the negative power of the moment. So go ahead and consider your worst what-ifs in order to realize it will not ruin your child's birth day.

Discuss your hopes and fears with your birth partner and your physician.
By talking about what you wish for and dread in a birth experience you can communicate your feelings ahead of time. The moment to tell your doctor or your partner that you are petrified of needles is before the epidural is ordered, not when the anesthesiologist arrives.

Practice relaxation techniques and plan to use them in a variety of situations.
Relaxing stretches, controlled breathing and meditation are all skills that will aid in you many life moments from childbirth to colic, to car breakdowns. Practicing them means that you naturally can adjust to stress levels with a relaxation technique.

Have a good support person.
Having someone who you know understands your desires and fears and will be your sounding board and your voice when necessary removes a heavy load of stress from your shoulders. Don't try to do it all on your own.

Things Most Likely to Go Wrong

Your preferred provider doesn't make it to the birth in time.
If a partner from your doctor's practice or even a nurse ends up making the big catch it won't be the end of the world. With a full load of patients and a personal life, it is a strong possibility your medical professional won't make it for the whole labor and delivery. Don't let it worry you. You really won't care once you stare into your little new one's eyes.

You need pain relief.
You wanted a natural, drug-free labor but into your umpteenth hour of barely progressing labor you've decided not to be a hero. It's OK. Prepare ahead of time for this possibility so you'll be better informed about your options should you decide you need some help on the pain front.

You need a C-section.
Probably the most common of unplanned complications, the cesarean birth might not be your ideal birth but should it be required you'll be much better off if you at least read up on it prior to being told you need one. For an even better experience, consider writing up an alternative birth plan in case of a c-section.

Your labor drags on or has some false starts.
Many a birth story begins with getting sent home dejected one or more times. Or perhaps you thought you'd be one of those lucky ladies who practically spills out the baby in the elevator up to the labor and delivery department yet you spend hours upon hours waiting for a watched and stubborn cervix to dilate. Plan for this by packing a deck of cards, a favorite movie and light snacks for both you and your partner.

Some fleeting scary moments.
Perhaps there is a temporary problem with detecting baby's heart rate or your blood pressure rises unexpectedly. Some hiccups and bumps are more noticeable in our high tech labor environment. Don't let it frighten you. Problems are almost always detected before they actually become scares that are truly worrisome.

Surprise!
It's a boy.or a girl or gulp! Twins. Even with multiple sonograms it's possible for a surprise gender announcement or once in a while, an extra baby to arrive. Or maybe it's much simpler like you thought you were going to give birth to a linebacker and it's a bundle better outfitted in preemie clothes. Surprises are a part of parenting so you might as well get used to going with the flow from day one.


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