Having No Birth Plan Is Worst Birth Plan Ever


Birth plans are often scoffed at with the accusation that you are trying to make an unpredictable day into one with a script. Birth plan makers are even called control freaks. But if you think about it, if you don't make a birth plan, you are kind of making a plan ... a different type of plan. But still a no birth plan plan.

It's a plan to take a major back seat.

Your no birth plan could look something like this:

1. Positions -- I don't really know anything about the difference in positions for labor, nor do I really care. While squatting and all fours is most effective and may help me relieve pain the best, I don't really mind if I'm stuck on my back the whole time.

2. Interventions -- Vaginal exams, having my water broken even if my body's not ready, or being told I have to have a very painful induction because it could help us be done faster doesn't bother me. I go to a doctor because he's got a degree, it's not like he really cares if I have an opinion anyway.

3. Family -- I don't really care if my family gets to be involved, if the daddy gets to cut the cord or hold the baby first if I end up with a c-section. I don't really mind if no one is with me at all, or if my whole extended family is, or if half-cousin Joe is taking a video for YouTube.

4. C-section -- If things are taking a little while or there might be a little effort needed from me, I don't mind just hopping over to the c-section wagon. I don't really care if my husband goes in with me or not or where the baby goes while I'm healing.

5. The baby's food -- Breastfeeding or formula, it's all the same, right? I'll just go with whatever nurse is on schedule's opinion of how I should feed my baby because it doesn't really matter to me one bit. If they give a bottle right away and I can't get baby to latch, it's no skin off my back.

6. Procedures -- I haven't put any thought into delayed cord clamping, donating cord blood, or the ointments and injections they want for the baby after birth. Whatever they do, I'm sure it's best. I don't need to be bothered with such minute details.

7. Pain -- Whatever, drugs, no drugs, you choose.

Ladies and gents, no birth plan IS a birth plan -- a bad plan at that. A good birth plan is just making some very basic decisions that every responsible mother-to-be should already make, even unconsciously. Some hospitals hand you a form and have you circle things that they stick in your chart, such as whether or not you intend to breastfeed. Ta-da, you've made a birth plan.

How set you are on those opinions is up to you, how much effort you put forth to having them followed is going to be dependent on your support system. Your experience may void them anyway, but no woman should go in without some sort of plan.

Whether you called it a birth plan or not, what decisions did you make in advance about your birth and baby?


Image via vvracer/Flickr

labor & delivery, labor, baby prep


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Laura... LauraKathleen

This article is seriously one of the most condescending things I've ever read on TheStir.  Guess what?  I didn't have a formal "birth plan" and that didn't mean that I was rendered incapable of making my own decisions in the delivery room, nor did I allow hospital staff to steamroll my opinions and desires for their own convenience.

There's a BIG DIFFERENCE between not having a birth plan and being totally uninformed about your options during and after labor & delivery.  Lumping all the moms who did not make a birth plan into the group of uninformed mothers who didn't do any research beforehand, is rotten and insulting.

MTNes... MTNester1

Where did she say "formal" birth plan?  If you informed yourself, you had an unwritten birth plan.  Hit a nerve here, did she?

Janna McCain

This article is AWESOME!! Yes, the emphasis is a little bit exaggerated, but that's in the effort to get through to as many mamas out there that they need to be informed AND prepared.

To the previous poster: In all honesty, you're a little too easily offended. You said "I didn't have a formal "birth plan" and that didn't mean that I was rendered incapable of making my own decisions in the delivery room". But what if you HAD been rendered incapable during your delivery to make ANY decisions?? No woman knows exactly how their body is going to react during labor, and the point of this article is to strongly encourage women to go into it as prepared as possible for all scenarios, best or worst case. It's very fortunate that you were able to keep a level, logical head during and after your delivery, but a lot of mamas aren't that fortunate, and that's when bad things happen (see above).

The punchline: BE PREPARED, don't just assume that everything will go according to the plan you have in your head!

Thanks for the great article, Christie :-)

Elizabeth Sroczyk-Coon

I wanted to make a 'birth plan' and was laughed at in my dr's office, saying I was jinxing myself into a C-section.  I switched doctor's offices at 33 weeks and brought up the idea at this office my very first appt.   My doctor helped me edit it and asked me things to include in it I would have never thought of, such as if I wanted phone calls before/during/after labor and before I was able to get my own room, and if there was anyone I wanted to "block" from contacting me during my stay.  I think having a 'birth plan'- no matter how laid back or formal it is, and sharing it with others is great- why be the only one to know something!?!!    

nonmember avatar Michelle

When I was rendered totally helpless during my recent birth/CBAC, my birth plan helped my doula and husband enforce my wishes. You're lucky that you were "with it" enough to express your wishes. Moms need to make the staff well aware of their wishes for care well before time. I'd rather hand a nurse a piece of paper with a few simple bullet points than yell out at everyone in the room "No eye ointment please, wait! don't cut the cord yet!, what are you injecting the baby with?!" You have to let nurses and doctors know what you expect, they're not mind readers.


Bravo!! 100% agree! Nowhere in this did she state that your birth plan had to actually be written. A couple can have a completely verbal plan in their head, but I have DEFINITELY met MANY MANY women who have gone into the hospital knowing NOTHING about interventions, breastfeeding, inductions, c-sections, epidurals, etc..they just think the doctors and nurses hve their best interest at heart..when in reality, you should take the time from spending 17 hours picking the "perfect" bedding and paint and study a little more up on birth. People take more time researching their next car or home purchase than they do birth. sad. :-( 

Joy Krell Hopkins

Ha ha ha! This was awesome. And as TRW3 said - she didn't say it had to be written down. Sounds like you had a game plan, Laura, which is awesome. Don't know why your panties are in such a wad.

nonmember avatar Kmw

I had a birth plan when I had my son back in 2007, but they didn't care to use it. After being in labor for days & having my water break at home we went to the hospital where I had my son within 45 minutes of getting there, but they basically laughed in my face when I told them I wanted to use the birthing pool - no time to get it ready, I didn't want any drugs and they still put an IV in, just because it was medical procedure & they wouldn't let me be on all fours. I had back labor so I really didn't want to be on my back in the traditional way but they wouldn't let me be in the position I wanted to be in. I'm glad I had a healthy baby, but am doing it differently next time!

CoolR... CoolRelax

I wouldn't really call it a "plan", more just guidelines on what I wanted.  Vaginal deliver, an epidural, healthy babies.  DH did everything else on my "list": played the music, put on the scented flicking "candle", back rubbed and cut the cords.  I think it's easier to get the birth you want at a hospital if your desires aren't too far from hospital policies, whatever those policies may be. If you want more control then you go to a birth center or have baby at home.

rerra... rerratron

Great article. I think it would be beneficial to point out that one does not have to write out a novella of a "formal" birth plan, however. It helps to have things in writing to prevent the frustration of repeating yourself to every medical professional who enters your room- but as long as you've educated yourself about these issues, gold star!

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