Sunday, April 04, 2010

On Birth Plans

     I've seen a lot of women and birthing professionals (whether doulas or midwives) posting about birth plans in blogs. Some say that having a well drawn-out birth plan is absolutely necessary, others say that the mother needs to be flexible depending on what situations arise, and still others argue that if someone wants a home birth-like experience, then they should birth at home (which can't legally be done in Illinois with a midwife present - article here).

     The most recent post on personal birth plans on a blog that I read was by Ashley on How To Hide a Tank in This post. Ashley is very lucky to be able to have a home birth attended by a midwife, so she feels that only a verbal birth plan is necessary should something go wrong that requires intervention.

     Amy Wynn wrote a post for Offbeat Mama that can be found Here where she talks about throwing out her birth plan in order to stop herself from being control obsessed and to increase her chances of being happy with the birth no matter how it turned out. That said, she also made sure that her doctor was aware of her wishes.

     Unfortunately, living in Illinois and in a rented town house, I can not have expectations of such a comfortable and care-free birth. There are no independent birth centers either. Turns out that the headquarters of the American Medical Association are housed in Illinois, which means that they have a ton of legal sway and the desires of patients are largely ignored. Midwifery itself seems to be only borderline legal in this state, with the midwife group that I see needing to associate themselves with a doctor in order to practice. (see Illinois Families for Midwifery or the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery if you're interested in helping fight for midwives in Illinois)

     Because of this, I'll be giving birth in an alternative birthing room inside of a hospital. Even though my birth will be attended by an AWESOME midwife, we'll be at the whims of the hospital policies. So.. I've made a birth plan.. kind of. It's actually in bullet points right now, which seems to work better because it makes information easier to find. It also follows the policies that my midwife holds to, so it's really more for the other hospital staff than for her.

     Yes, I understand that the hospital staff is trained in child birth. I understand that they should be expected to do whatever is best for me. I also understand that liability insurance is an expensive thing and that doctors can be quick to jump to unnecessary procedures in order to cover their own asses. I hold strongly to the idea that childbirth is a natural process that does not necessitate medical intervention in most cases. I believe that the high rate of C-Sections in the U.S. is HORRIBLE. I also believe that some people hold certain opinions about young mothers that might make them choose to save my baby over me. Sorry.. no. I would much rather live to see another day and be able to adopt a child. I know it's selfish, but right now this baby is really just a severe case of indigestion and a little alien that likes to kick me in the bladder.


  1. [quote]I hold strongly to the idea that childbirth is a natural process that does not necessitate medical intervention in most cases[//quote]

    You do realize that up until only about 100 years ago and the advent of modern medical interventions, childbirth was far and away the single greatest cause of death for women? And that it's still, to this day, one of the highest-risk non-surgical procedures one can go through?

    Just sayin'.

  2. hence where i said "in most cases".. I think that people are too quick to jump into getting a C-Section because things aren't going fast enough and they're getting impatient. I also think that people are not told the risks of a C Section. They're not particularly risky except that they are cutting through a muscular area and there is always the risk of infection. Also, studies have shown that women who have a certified midwife attend their delivery (like I am) have lower mortality and complication rates than those who have a doctor attend. I'm not saying that we should go back to 100 years ago in any way. you need to be clean, you need to have a trained professional there at least for your first birth, but we don't need to cut into 1/3rd of the women who get pregnant.

  3. Have you seen "The Business of Giving Birth" documentary? It's really good. The only thing I wish it talked more about is natural midwife-assisted hospital births (which is what I'm having). It's really good, though.

  4. That's what I'm having too, haven't seen the documentary though.. I'll have to find it. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for linking my post! Birth plans are defiantly as hot of a topic as sleep training:) Everyone has an opinion on how it should or shouldn't be done.

    My daughter was born in Oregon. One of the most friendly natural birth states. We had options out the wazoo. Since then we have moved to California where support is a little harder to come by.

    I just wanted to clarify that we are having an unassisted home birth, with a consulting midwife and Doula.


  6. Ashley, you're so lucky! I've wanted to move out to the west coast for a long time now, but haven't had the funds or a chance to do it.

    Kudos on the birth being unassisted too! Given that this is my first and that I have some health problems that may or may not pose an issue, we decided that doing it ourselves wasn't the best idea. We would have had a midwife attended home birth, but legality is such an issue in Illinois.

    Thanks for the comment!!