Soft music, dimmed lighting, imported blankets, custom or designer hospital gowns, candles, bean bag chairs, birthing tubs, doulas, relatives, friends, specialists ... of course, every woman has the right to a birth plan and a positive birthing experience, BUT where does the madness end?
Are some of these labor room accouterments ridiculous? Are some birth plan requests (like instructions regarding pain management or other medical procedures) important and only the more high-maintenance requests ridiculous? Are birth plans about being comfortable and cared for as you see fit or are they about being controlling and spoiled?
Seriously, does having an extensive birth plan make you a diva?
Birth plans have been growing in popularity for awhile, but in some cases, they just keep getting more grandiose. There are checklists and templates on pregnancy sites and suggestions in all the books. However, I noticed that my doctor never asked me about my birth plan. I asked my friends and their doctors didn't either. I wonder if this is because they hope their patients don't write one. I'm sure they want us to be educated, but do they really want to deal with requests for special lighting?
Obviously, giving birth is very personal, and it's our right to do whatever we want. But extensive birth plans can seem over the top and really like a luxury. Our mothers certainly didn't have them.
As Americans, most of us have the amazing opportunity to have the finest doctors and facilities to have our babies. Aren't we taking advantage of this privilege? Somehow it seems gluttonous to have all of these special requests. We all think it's gross when Jennifer Lopez asks for all white furniture, scented candles, and guava juice in her dressing room before a concert. What's the difference?
Also, I have never met a woman who had her birth go exactly as she wanted it to go. It seems like writing a birthing plan that goes awry only adds a frustrating element to a situation that's most often unpredictable.
For all of you who have had a detailed birth plan, was it worth it? How did people respond to it? Did it go as you had planned? Would you recommend it? Does anyone else think the whole idea of detailed birth plans has gone too far?
Image via Robynlou8/Flickr