You know how important your birth plan is, but so are these three things! Get out your pen and take down notes for this one, we are covering the plan you need to make for BEFORE you get to the hospital, and planning tips for the two areas most unmedicated birth plans fail.
Your birth plan is just one part of your birth
When we write our birth plans it typically includes our requests for labor, pushing, and immediately postpartum. It probably includes things like, freedom of movement, no mention of medications, no cervical checks, delayed cord clamping, etc. The birth plan is the bare basics documentation of what hospital routines you want and don’t want, and it start when you get to the hospital.
But if you know one of my TWO big tips for going unmedicated in the hospital it is to stay at home as long as you can. So actually, a lot of your labor has no plan. Which if you’re at home laboring, there is much less you need to plan compared to the hospital- but it’s still the first are I don’t want you to skip. And here’s why…
The Early Labor Game Plan
As soon as labor feels tough, as soon as it feels like you need support, many moms go into the hospital because they need a plan and that is where their birth plan begins. SO many moms go into the hospital too early. Don’t skip your early labor plan, so that you know what to do at home to feel supported and able to labor at home longer. This is something that I have been doing with my birth clients, and we also have a section in the Academy for planning for early labor too!
Here is what to include on your Early Labor Game Plan:
What you want to do in early labor, when contractions are not distracting yet.
What to do in active labor, when contractions ARE distracting
When to leave for the hospital
Don’t forget to, for last minute things you don’t want to miss before leaving
Arriving at the hospital, what you want that to look like
Grab my FREE printable to plan here, I would go print it and hang it on your fridge to easily reference once labor starts!
The exhaustion plan
Another area that lacks planning with the unmedicated birth is a plan for exhaustion. THIS is where I see most moms wanting the epidural even though they have all the supports and education in place for their unmedicated birth.
First of all, be mentally prepared that labor could last DAYS. Do not be surprised if labor goes beyond 40 hours, longer labors are especially common in first time moms. Although, side note, I have an amazing free masterclass on how to have a faster birth AND Academy moms have faster labors for first time mamas! But still make an exhaustion plan and brainstorm how you will prioritize getting rest in late pregnancy, early labor, and even active labor. In late pregnancy and early labor take a freaking nap! You can bank up sleep before labor even starts. And in early labor, avoid all those get things going tips and just get some rest while you can.
Rest can happen in active labor too with restful positions, getting in the tub, side lying. It’s also important to have a mindset of surrender and not try to rush labor. I know sometimes you just want to be done but I promise you can do this! Your body’s hormones actually help you out here too by giving you a burst of adrenaline and feel goods to prepare you for the pushing stage.
Also keep in mind the power of food as fuel in labor also. Your uterus is a muscle and labor is a marathon, calories and hydration (an electrolytes) can help see you through to the end.
The epidural (avoidance) plan
The last place NOT to skip when planning out your birth is a plan for when you ask for the epidural. Even if you are DEAD SET on not having an epidural, if you are in the hospital it is there, you’ll get to the point of being done, or it’ll just be offered to you once labor starts to get more difficult to manage- so BE READY!
True story: I asked for the epidural with all 3 of my babies, but didn’t end up getting one. Expect that you may want that support tool at some point. I truly believe that unmedicated mamas who change their mind and ask for the epidural are really asking for more support. It’s just that the epidural is the support available in the typical hospital birth. So making a plan for how your birth partner (link to episode) can really dial up the birth support when you get to the point of being done.
That’s it! The three areas NOT to skip when birth planning:
The Early Labor Game Plan for before you get to the hospital
A plan for exhaustion
What to so when you ask for the epidural
Grab your free Early Labor Game Plan and check out the other freebies added soon!
FREE masterclass on having a faster birth
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