Birth Planning, Preparation Exercises

Envision Your Perfect Labor and Childbirth

In this exercise you will work backwards in time to help you prepare for your perfect labor. You will need to spend a few minutes thinking about how you want your labor to go.

Consider first how you will talk about the experience of childbirth after your baby is born. What words do you want to use to describe the experience. What words do you not want to use? If you are having trouble coming up with words to describe the experience you want, try coming up with one word for each letter of the alphabet.

Once you have your list of words you want to use to describe your labor experience, move back in time to the actual labor. What types of things will need to happen during your baby’s birth for you to describe the experience with the words you have chosen. Think about such factors as your companions, the environment, how decisions are made, what procedures you would want or not want and the overall attitude of everyone involved.

Knowing the types of things you would like to have during your labor, consider now how realistic your expectations are. Is your perfect labor something that can be achieved with the plans you now have, or will it require some changes on your part? Are the companions you have chosen likely to give you the support you want? Are the options you would like realistic for you?

If your plan is not realistic, find out how you can change it to be more realistic but still have the type of experience you want. For example, if you would like to give birth at a birth center, but there are none in your area, find out if there is a hospital with midwives who are supportive or if anyone assists at homebirths in your community.

If your plan is realistic, start thinking about what obstacles you will face in labor. What things will make the most difference in your being able to achieve this type of childbirth. Do you need to learn more comfort techniques? Do you need to improve your nutrition? Do you need to talk to your midwife about the options you have chosen?

Review Your Work

  • If you identified parts of your plan that were unrealistic, how can you adjust your plan to keep the most important features?
  • What learning needs did you identify?
  • What changes can you make to help you improve your chances of success with your plan?
  • Did you identify anything in your plan that was of lesser importance to you? If so, does it need to stay in your plan?

Jennifer (Author)