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What To Do When Childbirth Doesn’t Go As Planned

Written by Karli Steenkamp 

When you find out that you are pregnant, it is one of the most exciting times in your life. Many women love to plan every aspect of their pregnancy including the birth. A birth plan is important to prepare you and your partner for what will happen.

You probably read up on articles, went to antenatal classes, spoke to your obstetrician or midwife and you have made a decision about how you want your baby delivered with all the options you had. It can be a nerve-wrecking experience for some, but you are at least prepared for what is going to happen. Or so you thought…. Childbirth doesn’t always go as planned and this can leave you with many mixed emotions. 

Having a birth plan means that you have looked at all your options. You have decided either to have a caesarian or natural birth, where and how. But babies can be very temperamental and there is many factors that can have an effect on your childbirth not going as planned. These can be high blood pressure, premature contractions, your baby being breech or any other health risks.

All of these are out of our hands as parents. There is nothing you could have done differently to have a different outcome. There are many mothers that have set their heart on a natural birth and ended up with a caesarean and being absolutely heartbroken. It is normal. 

It can be very frightening to hear a doctor tell you something different than what you planned for. Maybe your baby will be born earlier and you are not ready? You planned a natural birth, but need an emergency caesarian? You planned a caesarian but your doctors are worried about your baby’s heart rate? All these factors can lead to you feeling sad, disappointed, frustrated, angry, guilty or even traumatized. It is normal to have these mixed emotions. It will be ok.

Nothing will change the decision of the doctor. They know what they are doing. Your child is being born and you want to try and enjoy every moment of it. Tell your partner how you feel, your emotions and what you need from them and how they can support you. Together you will get through this, they are also panicking because this are not going as planned. Rely on each other to get through this and meet your beautiful baby. 

In some cases the baby needs extra medical attention which can stress parents out. Or your baby needs to stay in hospital after you leave, as in many cases of premature births. This can be very traumatic. Talk about it. The more you open up about your feelings and the birth the easier it will get.

People will know how to support you. If you do not feel better after a couple of days, it might be necessary to speak to your doctor, midwife or even a psychologist. You might be suffering from post natal depression which is not your normal baby blues. 

It is important to have a birth plan so that you are prepared for what happens. However have a plan B as well, things doesn’t always go as planned in this stressful life we are living. Be ok with your plan A and plan B. Speak to your doctor about plan B so that you know how it will work if you have to resort to that plan.

Talk to your partner about both so that both of you are familiar with the plans. Pack your hospital bag ahead of time so that you are ready for the unexpected. Remember you are in good hands, doctors or midwifes deliver babies on a daily basis, they’ve got this. Childbirth is a special occurrence in your life that you share with your partner. Try not to set your heart solely on one plan, so that you are prepared for anything. Be brave and remember you are not alone. 



Health Direct: Pregnancy birth & baby   

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