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Making a Birth Plan and Preparing the Delivery Room

Scientists believe that the most important functional difference between the brains of women and men is that the number of connections between the right and left brain is higher in women than it is in men. This means that women have a more de-tailed and analytical thought system while men have a more basic, direct and result-oriented thinking style.

For pregnant women who have numerous lists going on in their heads, the best thing to do is get those lists out on paper as soon as possible. Surely, women want to build the best home, take care of their children as best as they can and be prepared to do so. This is totally normal and an instinctive desire. But what really matters is that you satisfy this desire without being influenced by the exaggerations imposed on us by the world of consumerism and going to extremes. You need to identify the essentials, fo-cus on what you really need, draw up a calendar to get all of them and stick to the plan.

“REMEMBER, TODAY IS YOUR DAY; THE STAGE, THE SETTING AND THE AC-TORS ARE ALL UNDER YOUR CONTROL… YOU GET TO MAKE ALL THE DECI-SIONS. WHAT MATTERS IS YOUR THOUGHTS AND EMOTIONS, NOT OTHER PEOPLE’S.”

During my pregnancy, I had to compile lots of lists and information about what I could possibly need and I did this by talking to the people I knew and trusted. What I needed was a guide that held all the information together in one place. I was looking for a system where people could share this sort of information with one another. Hav-ing to rediscover every single thing was kind of insane and, to be honest, a waste of time… For a woman who had no idea what it meant to be another, every little piece of information was vitally important. So, I compiled together all the lists that have helped me and the women around me who also gave birth. You can find them all here. Pick and choose whatever is important to you, make a checklist of your own and keep track of that as you go along. That way, once every item on your list is completed, you can give yourself a break and send to your brain the message that “you are ready.” (You can find a shopping list example in the “Lists” chapter.) This will help your body, which runs the process of birth on primitive urges, to feel secure and start the labor when it is time.

Who do you want to have with you during delivery?

You might have different expectations from every person around you. For ex-ample, you might want to notify certain people that you are going into labor but you might not want them to come to the hospital if you are giving birth in a hospital. Or you might want them to come to the hospital and not into your room. No matter what any-one says, all these specific things that you want stem from your significant needs, so take heed of them. Do not think that you need to have your mother in law in the room just to make your husband happy or that you need to be polite and invite your best friend who keeps making you nervous into the room. You might also want to tell every-one in the neighborhood that your baby’s coming, which you should do if that’s what you want. But only have those 2 or 3 people in the delivery room with whom you are absolutely comfortable with and who respects your privacy. This time belongs to you… Feel free to make any arrangements that make you feel comfortable.

For my own delivery, I asked my mother, father and older sister to wait at the caf-eteria. Because their anxiety stemming from love and the need to protect, could affect me negatively, and I did not want to focus on those feelings. I had only my husband with me. He had already worked with our midwife for a long time on how to behave around me to ensure my comfort. So I allowed my doctor, my husband, my midwife, one close friend and my delivery nurse to come into the room. No one took any offense at this, believe me. And when the baby was born everyone formed such a nice circle of love around her that no one could even get mad at anything…

A predetermined birth plan could be very helpful to you if you have been able to communicate well with your doctor. If you are planning to give birth vaginally, this plan will become even more important.

 Once you have a plan in place, share it with your doctor and the nurses and midwives at the hospital where you’ll give birth.

 What is the easiest and the fastest route to the hospital? Identify the routes you can take to the hospital and determine any alternative roads in case one of them is blocked or closed off for some reason.

 Find out where the hospital entrances and the parking spots are.

 Go and explore the hospital where you’ll give birth.

 If possible, ask to see the delivery room you’ll be giving birth in.

 Decide on the role your spouse will play in the delivery. For example, does he want to cut the cord? Will he be taking photos? Or does he not want to be in the room at all? If he prefers to stay outside, let him do so, he might be badly affect-ed by the sight of blood or the subject of pain in general. Remember, he is not in your body, no matter how hard he tries, he could still not understand what you’re going through.

 What do you want to bring into your room? You could take your favorite pillow-case, for example, a toy or a painting that you love and that inspires you.

 As your doctor’s routine practices about induced labor, NST frequency, estab-lishing vascular access, giving mothers IVs and mothers drinking water during labor.

 What are your thoughts and your doctor’s thoughts regarding epidural during labor. Find out.

 Ask if the hospital where you’ll give birth is baby-friendly.*

 Does your health insurance cover expenses incurred at this hospital? Find out this information beforehand.

 What do you need to have in your labor bag? Prepare it beforehand (see an ex-ample list in the “Lists” chapter).

 Meet with the obstetric doctors and nurses of the hospital, talk to them.

 If possible and if it is what you want, work with doctors, midwives and hospital staff who favor natural births.

*Baby-Friendly Hospital

Within the scope of the Ministry of Health’s efforts to encourage breastfeeding, to inform mothers about breastfeeding and help them acquire healthy habits, the Breastfeeding Promotion and Baby-Friendly Hospitals Program was initiated in 1991 to ensure that breastfeeding became a successful and estab-lished practice in hospitals providing maternity services. Among the hospitals that provide maternity services, those that inform expectant mothers about breast milk and breastfeeding beginning from pregnancy, encourage mothers to breastfeed their babies immediately after birth, and educate mothers on how to breastfeed their babies through health professionals equipped with the most with up-to-date information receive the title of “Baby-Friendly Hospital.”

Preparing the Delivery Room

The delivery room is usually placed on the bottom of the birth plan. However, I believe that it must be at the very top of the list, because the physical environment has an un-deniable impact on emotions, thoughts and associations. Therefore, the details you didn’t think were important before, could prevent you from being able to relax and enjoy the journey of childbirth.

As maternity houses are not common in Turkey and most women go into child-birth from their hospital rooms, I would like to share a couple of tips on how you can get comfortable in your room.

Hospital rooms are designed for treating patients, whereas birth is not a sick-ness, as I believe we are all aware at this point. Then why not have a nice environment in which we can feel better and that speaks to our five senses? I wish institutions such as the Ministry of Health and hospital managements would have already thought of those little details, but sadly, that is not the case… So, we have to do it for ourselves, but I’m also very optimistic in terms of what we can achieve.

Eyes - Soothing the Sense of Sight

Visit the hospital where you’ll give birth, go up to the floor and the room where you’ll be in and take photos. You can review the photos back at home and see if there is any-thing that could bother you.

To soothe your sense of sight, if there is a device in the room that scares you, you could ask if you can cover it. If the answer is yes, maybe bring something from home to cover it with.

You can also bring with you a picture of a photo that you like, a visual that in-spires you, and hang it on a wall or place it somewhere you can easily see.

Ears - Soothing the Sense of Hearing

Hospitals are naturally noisy places. The sounds of cleaning carts, ringing phones, machines or voices coming from the next room could get a little overwhelming and you could simply want to keep them out.

If you bring a little speaker or your music player of choice to the hospital, you can keep all the outside noises out. Try compiling all the songs that make you feel good during pregnancy on one playlist and you’ll realize how relaxing it is to listen to things that you enjoy. Music creates a balance between mind, body and soul. Studies have shown that music and sounds have a positive effect on pain and anxiety. Music therapy is an effective method commonly used to decrease pain levels and anxiety.

You could also want the room to be completely quiet at times, which you can communicate to your team beforehand.

Nose - Soothing the Sense of Smell

You’ve probably noticed your sense of smell getting stronger during pregnancy. Espe-cially in the first few months, both the pleasant and unpleasant smells are felt much more intensely. To make the most of this superhuman sense of smell you can bring some nice incense or lavender with you to the hospital when you go into labor. Pleas-ant smells will both help you unwind thanks to their aromatherapy effect and drive any unwanted smells away.

When you pick scents, make sure to pick the ones that are not heavy and that you’ve tried and enjoyed before, so that you don’t get nauseated at the last minute…

Tongue - Soothing the Sense of Taste

Bringing some light food and snacks with you to eat when you feel hungry might be easier than trying to find them at the hospital. Of course, I’m not talking about taking huge pots of food that will feed the entire family.

Only you can know the snacks that make you feel good every time, and they are probably not going to be sold at the hospital cafeteria. I had brought fresh fruit and my favorite almond and walnut butters to the hospital.

Sense of Touch

You should be careful when you choose the people who will be with you during the delivery. You should be able to feel comfortable when those people enter the room. If someone you don’t feel comfortable with has to be in the room for some reason, then you should talk to them beforehand to establish trust and a line of communication and clearly state anything you are sensitive about. Don’t be afraid to give instructions on how they should work with you, not project their concerns on you and not plant any negative thoughts into your mind. Otherwise, your body might react to that person’s presence in the room and the things they say during the delivery. 

When it comes to making a birth plan, you should make sure to give it enough time to come together. Because the goal here is to help you calm down both mentally and spiritually and clear away any complications. A woman’s mind is fascinating, as I have said, it is equipped with the ability to think and feel in an incredibly detailed man-ner. That is exactly why even the smallest question mark in the mind can delay relaxa-tion.

Whereas what we want is to be able to give in to the process, unwind and let things happen of their own accord… 

Instructor

Burcu Kutluk

Instructor

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