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Choosing an Induction? Don't Burn Your Birth Plan.



You were planning a natural, unmedicated birth. You had a beautiful birth plan, listing all of your expectations, hopes, and preferences for your physiologic birth.


Now your plans are changing. An induction has been recommended, and you have decided that it will be best for yourself or your baby to end your pregnancy early.


(BRIEF INTERMISSION: You'll learn in the Intentional Birth program that these decisions are in your hands. Even if your care provider or hospital has an induction "policy" under certain circumstances, such as being pregnant past 41 weeks, you are "allowed" to decline induction entirely or until you feel ready. Don't worry, we'll prepare you with tools for navigating these crucial conversations!)


So, you're going in for an induction. Time to shred the birth plan, right? So much for that "natural birth" you had dreamed of! It's all out the window now, right?


Wrong! Your birth matters just as much now as it did before. Your values surrounding birth are still yours. Your baby's experience of birth still matters. You still matter.


Your birth plan still matters. Don't burn it. Even if you only have an hour's warning before your induction begins, you can still draft a plan for a gentle induction. (We have a great template in the Intentional Birth program workbook, along with the details of all your induction options).


Guess what, most of your natural birth plan can stay as is. Getting induced? All of the following options are still a possibility, should you choose them:

  • Laboring in the tub (with mobile monitoring and IV units)

  • Keeping your membranes intact (no one "breaks your water")

  • Declining an epidural or other medical pain relief

  • Having your doula and/or partner with you

  • Dim lighting, mood music, aromatherapy, minimal disruption

  • Pushing in the position of your choosing, with your reflexive urge

  • Waiting to push until you feel that urge

  • Hands-off "delivery" by the staff

  • Delayed cord clamping

  • Immediate skin-to-skin

  • Uninterrupted first hour or two (the "Golden Hours") with baby

  • Declining "fundal massage"

  • Your newborn procedure preferences

Pro tip: We always recommend prefacing your birth plan with a short paragraph telling who you are, expressing gratitude to the staff, and stating that thorough communication is important to you. You want all your options to be explained to you, and you want to be asked for consent before any intervention is initiated (including "bumping up the Pitocin.")


We believe that induction should be rarely offered. (Almost a third of first-time births in America are induced! Has nature gone that wrong? No. Hospital risk management teams have.) But there are times that induction is medically indicated, and it's nice to know that if you need to walk that path, you can do it with most of your original wishes intact.


To know what you might want to change on your natural birth plan, in the case of induction, read Getting Induced? A Few Things to Change on your Natural Birth Plan.


p.s. We go into all the nitty gritty details of induction over in the Intentional Birth program, and share true stories of women who declined induction and had awesome births, and true stories of women who chose induction and had awesome births. We'd love to share it all with you.


Photo by Paige Driscoll

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