The benefits of having a birth plan

The Mummary - By Megan KellyWith my first son, I didn’t do much research into birthing options and had no idea about the benefits of having a birth plan. All I knew was that there was the option of having a natural birth or caesarean, and considering I had never been in hospital before and am scared of surgery, I knew that I wanted a natural birth.

At 38,5 weeks, I went for my usual check-up to find that they had detected protein in my urine, which is an indication of hypertension caused by my pregnancy. After several tests, the doctors informed me that it was in my best interest to be induced. Admittedly, I had no idea what that meant or what it would include, but knowing that my baby’s health was at risk, was enough for me to agree to being induced, the following morning.

Looking back, I am sort of grateful for not having had any idea of what an induction would include, as after having one I read several stories and none of them were very uplifting. However, I found my birth to be the complete opposite and despite the pain being indescribable, I felt very empowered by my birth and felt that my healthcare professional had my best interest at heart.

However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, recent research shows that in South Africa more than 70% of births covered by private medical schemes are caesareans. It is believed that this result is due to caesareans being somewhat convenient for doctors, as they have the ability to schedule X amount of procedures in a day. Sadly, this often goes against a mom’s wishes for her birth and puts her and her baby under unnecessary stress.

What is a birth plan?The Mummary - By Megan Kelly

With the realization that moms were being pressured into birthing choices they weren’t entirely happy with; a birth plan was developed and is recommended by mid-wives and doulas. A birth plan is a way for moms to communicate their wishes and expectations of their birth, to their doctors and mid-wives, so that they are aware of things that the mom would like to avoid, the type of labour and birth she’d like to have, and how she would like for it to happen.

Of course, a birth plan has to be flexible as things don’t always go according to plan but it does help your mid-wives and doctors understand what you’d like to happen, in your best-case scenario. You should also consider what you’d like to happen if complications arise during your labour, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to make decisions you hadn’t yet considered, and that way you have mentally prepared yourself.

What are the benefits of a birth plan?

The benefits of having a birth plan is that it gives moms a sense of control, especially in the midst of labour where moms can feel panicked, overwhelmed, or scared. It also helps moms feel prepared when approaching their due date, as having a better understanding of the different options available, can lead to feeling empowered by the reassurance and knowledge of what to expect. Best of all, it helps communicate your preferences, and ensures that your healthcare provider understands your wants, while they consider your medical needs and requirements.

What goes into a birth plan?The Mummary - By Megan Kelly

There are several things to consider when it comes to your birth plan, so to simplify writing your own, I thought I’d share one of my favourite products included in The Mummary’s Curated Birth Box, your very own birth plan. The A5 Booklet is conveniently laid out to cover everything including; before your labour begins, the different phases of labour, pain management, final stages of labour, newborn procedures, your hospital stay, caesarean births and multiple births.

What I liked the most about developing my own birth plan, using The Mummary’s booklet, is that it provided an in-depth list of options that I hadn’t even considered yet. This gave me enough time and the opportunity to research it, ask other moms and my healthcare providers for their opinions, and decide whether the option was for me or not.

I didn’t realize that I had any choice in a lot things concerning my birth, for instance my birth position, or fetal monitoring. I just sort of thought that the doctors and sisters would tell me what I needed to know, but I have since learnt that I can choose the position that I am in, when giving birth, and how the sisters monitor the fetal movement throughout the labouring phase, limiting things like internal examinations.

What you should know about The MummaryThe Mummary - By Megan Kelly

What I love about The Mummary is that their products and services are accepting of all birthing and parenting choices, so you don’t have to feel judged by the choices you have made. This is something that I feel strongly about as I have a friend who had an elective caesarean and felt that media and brands were very discouraging of her birthing choice, so she ended up feeling unsupported when choosing to birth the way that she felt most comfortable doing so. As their website says, “The Mummary supports Mothering. An inherently natural part of life, unique to every mother. We believe in empowering mothers through physical, emotional and informational support. When a woman is supported, she thrives. We do not subscribe to any specific method of birthing and parenting. This is a safe space for women.”

Birth and Postpartum Curated Boxes

I received their Birth and Postpartum Curated Box which includes a variety of products to help through my birthing process and thereafter. My favourite products included a yoga ball, birth plan, birth affirmation cards, breastfeeding top, breastfeeding cover, and snacks to help keep hydrated and energized through labour.

I especially love the birth affirmation cards. For those of you who followed my first birthing experience, you may remember that I found great comfort in my husband being so encouraging but when labour wasn’t progressing, I ended up walking away from everyone to be alone and talk with God. I felt so weak, kept passing out from the pain and was exhausted by the labour, so by that point I honestly didn’t know how I was going to make it through the rest of my labour and birth my son naturally. After reminding myself through prayer that I was made to do this, I walked back to where my husband was, and birthed our son 15-minutes later, in a room full of doctors who didn’t believe I could possibly have progressed through labour so quickly. I have read through The Mummary’s birth affirmation cards and find the messaging to be so empowering and can’t wait to use them through my labour with Eli.

The Mummary have recently extended their range of curated birth boxes to include options for moms who choose to have natural birth, caesareans, and breastfeed. The content of each is listed below:

The Natural Birth Box

  • Personalised birth plan booklet
  • Birth Affirmations Cards
  • Labour kit (includes birthing ball and natural pain relief items)
  • Soy massage candle (safe in pregnancy, labour, for mother and baby)
  • Indulging lip balm (100% natural skin food)
  • Luxurious Turkish towel (100% cotton)
  • Wholefood bar ( Free from: gluten, wheat, dairy, refined sugar)

The Caesarean Birth Box

  • Personalised birth plan booklet
  • Birth Affirmations Cards
  • Soy massage candle (safe in pregnancy, labour, for mother and baby)
  • Indulging lip balm (100% natural skin food)
  • Luxurious Turkish towel (100% cotton)
  • Heat pack and other pain relief items

The Breastfeeding Mama

  • Decadent tea
  • Yummy lactation granola
  • Luxury bralette (please specify size Medium/Large)
  • Medela nipple cream
  • Organic washable nursing pads

You can also contact The Mummary, to personalize your curated birthing and postpartum box to include items from the rest of their store, too. The boxes start from R595 and are available from their online store.

For more information on The Mummary, be sure to visit their website and stay up to date with their latest product launches, special offers and tips for using their products, by following them on Facebook and Instagram.

I am Megan Kelly, the creator behind By Megan Kelly, mom of two boys, named Axl and Eli, and local business owner providing digital marketing solutions. I live on copious amounts of coffee, can be bribed with chocolate and will never admit to having too much makeup – although, I probably do.

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