Is Writing A Birth Plan Essential?

midwife in berlin and her english blog on writing a birth plan
In some countries sitting down and writing a birth plan is as normal as we all find online shopping.
In Germany it is less common and I want to say it was non existent when I started off in midwifery 17 years ago. Honestly, when I saw a birth plan the first time I was kind of speechless. Why did women think they had to write down their wishes? In my understanding of  labouring, a woman was receiving a one to one care, meaning a midwife would be present at all times, so I thought birth plans were a total nonsense.

Writing a birth plan in some countries is a very normal thing.

You get wiser ( or you could say older ), your view –  in this case my view – changes and politics change too. Nowadays, in my opinion, you can really only expect a one to one midwife- labouring woman / couple situation in an outer hospital setting.
So is having a birth plan maybe more advisable than I want to admit?

Let us do a pros and cons list to see where we are.

Pros for writing a birth plan:
–  to write a birth plan you have to inform yourself, have maybe talked to medical professions and friends, you have read books or searched the internet. You will be well informed about your choices.
– if you plan on giving birth in a hospital setting and meeting midwives you have never seen, a written birth plan will tell them what you want even without talking.
– if you have troubles with the German language, a birth plan, maybe translated into German, will give you confidence that the staff will know what you want.
 My cons against writing a birth plan: 
– I still want to believe that all midwives in Germany have your best interest at heart, meaning that some things I read in foreign birth plans are quite common here in Germany. Like letting the partner cut the cord and skin to skin contact with the baby.
– maybe a birth plan doesn’t let me be as open-minded as needed?
There is this saying:

Life happens while you are busy making plans.

I mean if we get too set on a plan, and the plan doesn’t work out it will take us some energy and time to get adjusted to the new way things are happening. We might even get very frustrated and angry if things do not work out as planned, or is that just me?
For an example: If I am planning on a water birth, have this fixed plan in my head, maybe even visualizing myself sitting in the tub,and then the bath tub is occupied meaning I can not have my bath….Will I not only get angry but frightened, because I had never thought about anything else? Ah…imagine. How not nice.
My conclusion is to aim for a birth idea rather than a set plan. If you have a birth companion maybe you do not even need to write it down. But knowing about your choices and possibilities is good.
This birth idea should leave room for all ifs and whens. Because things might just happen differently than expected.
Did you feel the need to write a birth plan? What did it say?

Lots of love & Go leor de ghrá,


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