What is a Birth Plan?

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Let's elaborate a little.....

What is a Birth AND BREASTFEEDING Plan?

Please understand that this is not about whether you do or don't NEED a birth plan. 

That decision is 100% yours to make as a unique woman, and we support every woman in the choices that she makes.

This post is for particularly for those women who are interested in learning about what they may like to consider including in their birth plan from Dr Robyn Thompson, midwife and breastfeeding expert with over 45 years experience.

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In Dr Robyn's experience, many women are not aware that the events that occur during labour and birth greatly influence breastfeeding.

This is why we encourage women to become well informed during pregnancy (first, second or third trimester), rather than waiting until you have your baby in your arms.

By gaining the knowledge, you'll have more confidence to make informed decisions, thereby reducing the risk of complications during your labour, birth AND with breastfeeding.

So, let's get back to the Birth and Breastfeeding Plan....

Every woman is unique and birth plan is unique.

So, this is not to tell you what you should include in your birth plan...

It's to share some considerations with you that you may or may not have thought of, to help you in the process of creating your own unique, gentle birth and breastfeeding plan.

And of course, it's important to acknowledge that things don't always go to plan.....

But if you take the time make a plan, you'll be increasing your knowledge about what some of the common complications are, what's likely to be recommended for you and most importantly, what's important to you.

It's also an important tool to have clear communication with your partner, your advocate and/or the professionals who will be looking after you.

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So, let's talk about the 5 Key Factors you may like to consider for your Birth Plan...

Key Factor #1: Routine Vaginal Examinations

Routine Vaginal Examinations are not necessary.  An experienced midwife will be able to mindfully observe a woman’s body language, her facial expressions and the sounds she makes.  Careful observation assists in interpreting how a woman’s labour is progressing, with respect to the significant changes that go on with each woman in her unique transitions of labour.

Minimal interference.  In the absence of urgent or emergency situations, it’s preferable that a woman’s labour is not unnecessarily interfered with.  Breastfeeding may be achieved more easily, because the baby is not subjected to opiates, often administered to the mother by way of local anaesthetics, epidurals and general anaesthetics.  These are a big problem for little babies, it's a big problem.  And it’s a problem for mothers when they’re drowsy and not able to coordinate as well until the effects wear off. Opiates do affect the newborn baby and may complicate breastfeeding.

Respect for the woman.  The vagina is a very important part of the female body and it should be respected.  Dr Robyn encourages her professional colleagues to sit down and talk with a woman about consent, because consent means that she understands why someone is wanting to do this, what are the benefits, what are the risks, what are the alternatives and most importantly, what are her rights?  This is paramount for all women, particularly for women who have been sexually abused. Hospital policy is not law.

Key Factor #2: Induction of Labour

Informed Consent.  Whenever induction is recommended, it’s okay to ask why.  In fact, Dr Robyn encourages you to ask why and to be informed of the benefits, risks and alternatives.  It’s not uncommon for women to report being coerced in some situations when induction is recommended.  This often creates fear, leading to an increase in adrenaline / cortisol.  This may then lead to a woman to start doubting herself and her instinctive knowledge.  Of course, if there is an urgent or emergency situation, then that's a different outlook altogether. 

Avoiding Unnecessary Induction.  The World Health Organisation suggests that 10 to 15% of women may need assistance, of some sort.  However, C-Section rates are increasing and in some hospitals the rates are unacceptably high.  The Cascade of Intervention is a well-known phenomenon and often starts with the recommendation of induction.  In this video, Dr Robyn goes on to explains that one form of intervention often leads to another, then another and so on.  Each intervention increases the risk of opiate pain relief, which increases the risk of further intervention, increasing the risk of birth and breastfeeding complications.  You get where we're going with this.

Key Factor #3: Non-Urgent and Routine Procedures

Rapid Processing.  Hospital systems are designed for efficiency with the aim of rapidly processing women in, through and out.  This is not always in the best interests of the breastfeeding mother and her newborn baby.  Dr Robyn’s encouragement, if possible, is for a woman to have her own midwife to be with her, gently guiding her through her pregnancy, labour, birth and with breastfeeding.

Avoid Unnecessary Separation of Mother and Baby.  With an Apgar Score of 7 or above, the newborn baby belongs with the mother from the moment of birth.  The baby should not be with someone else, particularly in the case of routine procedures, because boxes need to be ticked!   A baby must be with the mother, because the sensory skills are alive and well and that little baby needs to know that he/she is safe with his/her mother.

Weighing & measuring are examples of routine procedures that are not immediately necessary.  It’s not out of the question that a mother may request that the scales be set up and brought to her.  Perhaps the partner can weigh the baby.  Dr Robyn suggests to take things into consideration in the moment, what's happening.  Is it urgent?  Is it not urgent? And if it's not urgent, or it's not an emergency, take a step back.  There’s much to be learned by observing.  It can be quite stressful for a mother to be separated from her newborn baby.

Key Factor #4: The First Breastfeed

The 3 Golden Hours.  Not all newborn babies will go straight to the breast, immediately following birth.  However,  Dr Robyn talks about the 3 golden hours based on giving time for the newborn to do whatever the newborn needs to do.  To feel secure.  If a baby does need help or resuscitation then it’s important to be guided by the health professionals.  Dr Robyn encourages women to understand the Apgar Score and to include in their plan, that they would like to be informed of their baby’s Apgar score immediately following birth and 5 mins later.

Skin to Skin.  Once a mother is separated from her baby, breastfeeding complications are statistically significant.  Unnecessary separation, interruption or interference with the mother and the newborn increases the risk of breastfeeding complications.  In Dr Robyn’s experience, it may take up to an hour before the newborn is even interested in going to the breast by itself.  Skin to skin time is important for both mother and baby, especially babies affected by opiates, as they may not be as coordinated.

Key Factor #5: Unexpected or Emergency Situations

Dr Robyn encourages women to avoid unnecessary intervention where possible, with the understanding that as things change or unexpected things occur, a reasonable discussion may take place, so that the woman may make an informed decision. 

As we've mentioned earlier, it's important to acknowledge that things don't always as planned.  But being prepared and well informed, you'll be in a better position to reduce the risk of common complications experienced by so many women.

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If you've found this blog post and Dr Robyn's live interview on 'What is a Birth Plan' to be helpful, you may like to join our free Facebook Group to learn more about what's possible with the Thompson Method for your birth and breastfeeding journey.

Or, if you're ready to take the leap and join Dr Robyn's online program and enjoy a 40% OFF limited time discount, check it out here!

And of course, click the video about if you'd like to watch the full interview.

From all of us at The Thompson Method team, happy birthing & happy breastfeeding.

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Get to Know Us
Our Mission
The Thompson Method
The 3 Golden Hours
Dr Robyn
Reviews

Programs
Pregnant
Breastfeeding
Professional
Hospital
Success Stories

Other Resources
Help Centre
Download App
Blog
Contact
Login



Need to speak to someone: call 
Joanne Thompson on +61 419 315 948. Or Private Message on facebook


Privacy Policy    |    Terms Of Use    |    Medical Disclaimer

Copyright © Dr Robyn Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Made with  🖤  by 4Good Pty Ltd.