The Little Things- On Dimmed Lights and Birth Plans
Have you started working on your birth plan? If not- get started today! It’s never too late! Be sure to print extra copies for your provider, the hospital staff, and anyone in the room with you!
Not sure where to start? Don’t get overwhelmed! I have some suggestions to get things rolling!
1) Ever heard the term don't sweat the small stuff? Well, when writing your birth plan- skipping the little things that are important to you can also be a mistake and a source of regret after giving birth. A lot of times I talk to moms and they tell me "well as long as I get the big things- the rest doesn't matter as much." While we want to be reasonable and realistic when it comes to a birth plan- that doesn't mean you cannot ask for the little things too. Sometimes- what we THINK are very little things... Turn out to be very BIG things. Your intuition is worth it's weight in gold!
A good example of this was mentioned in an interview I listened to today with Dr. Michel Odent. Dr. Odent mentioned that there is science based reasoning why dimming the lights in a birthing space should be standard procedure for every provider. This option is listed in almost every birth plan I see, but is never one that is talked about much- and if it doesn't work out, usually moms aren't too concerned. But it seems like almost all of us think that is what feels natural. Sounds like a LITTLE THING right?
As It turns out- the blue light emitted from today's artificial lighting is HIGHLY effective in inhibiting the release of melatonin. Why is this important? Melatonin reduces the activity of the neocortex, allowing women to calm down and rest the "intellectual side of the brain" and connect to the more primal, instinctive side of labor and birthing- increasing melatonin levels naturally can improve birth outcomes in mother and baby (note that taking melatonin is not advisable during pregnancy because of its major role- please consult your provider before consuming a melatonin supplement). Bonus Points- Melatonin is also transferred to baby during any birth that happens once labor has begun (whether the outcome is cesarean or vaginal) and Melatonin serves as anti-oxidative protection to babies against stress.
Now that you got all of that- hopefully you see that the things that may seem small to your "thinking brain" are sometimes very important to your body intuitively. Don't think these things are "too small" to include if they seem important to you. Your gut feeling is usually the right one- always trust it when writing your birth plan.
2) HIRE A DOULA! Seriously- that’s the best way to get started! Doulas will be familiar with many aspects of your birth Google won’t be! Specific Hospitals and Providers May require different considerations! Your doula will likely have experience with their “insider scoop!” This knowledge can be invaluable in getting the birth you desire!
Doulas are trained in how to help you best advocate for yourself in an empowering manner. We can often give tips to include in birth planning and have tricks for labor itself that can help you best achieve the birth you desire. Some of this we do just by offering unconditional, judgement-free support and "holding space" for the pregnant mother and honoring her wishes to the best of our abilities. Positive Birth Outcomes truly are our game- and we are pretty good at winning this game. We cannot guarantee an outcome- but the positive benefits of unconditional labor support have been studied and proven time and time again.
3) This birth plan is my favorite way to get the gears turning! It is the most in-depth one I have seen! Read over it a few times and circle what stands out to you as most important! Answer the questions the best you can- highlight things you aren’t sure about to discuss further with your doula or care provider. This will give you a great head start on getting your finalized plan written!
PS- this birth plan is AMAZING. But it is very long. Consider summarizing your birth plan to 1-2 pages if possible highlighting what is most important to you on the front page if you can. Visual Birth Plans are also very effective for most births!
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