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Birth Plan vs Birth Philosophy | What's the Difference?

Do you know the difference between your birth plan and your birth philosophy?

Understanding your core beliefs, and how these concepts play together can help you curate an amazing birth experience that truly aligns with you. In your prenatal sessions, we dive into what your truest impressions of birth are, where they're rooted, aznd how you can use this information about yourself to step more fully into the amazing birthing being you are.

Birth Plans

Your birth plan is a research prompt, preparation guide, and communication tool.

It holds the answers to questions like:

1. Where do you plan to give birth?

2. Who do you expect to be present at your birth?

3. What are each person's roles in your birth space and on your birth team?

4. What are your healthcare preferences for yourself during labor & postpartum?

5. What are your boundaries relating to your environment, intervention, and agency?

6. What are your priorities for your newborn's care?

7. What other important details do you need to share about your early postpartum era?

Birth plan templates can be a great starting point for moms who are learning the vast array of options and potential experiences in birth, like my Undisturbed Birth & Postpartum Guide and Dr. Sarah's amazing birth plan checklist, which is included in our VBAC Planning workshop. Birth plans can also be presented as bullet points highlighting your most prominent values or boundaries. This style birth plan is great for communicating vague concepts, whereas the checklist format is better at quickly communicating more detailed decisions.

Birth Philosophy

Your birth philosophy is your honest feelings and beliefs around birth, including

  1. What do you trust about birth?

  2. What fears do you hold about birth?

  3. What are your spiritual beliefs relating to birth?

  4. How do you believe birth can be in it's "best form"

  5. How open are you to that vision, and what limitations do you have?

  6. What relationship do you have with death and rebirth?

You might be asking, "Lynnea, why is this important?" and that's understandable.

Your birth philosophy is a foundational component of how you will create expectations for birth, how you will prepare for birth, how likely you are to choose providers that are birth-friendly, and how you will perceive your birth experience after it is finished unfolding.

How Do Birth Plans & Philosophies Align?

1. The number one thing you need to know about birth plans and birth philosophies is that they both inherently exist.

This means that whether or not you choose to be aware of your unique lens on birth and early motherhood, these impressions play a role in your birth and postpartum journey. Having this awareness can help you manifest your birth experience, or at the least, help you ride the waves of the unknown with an understanding of where control and surrender meet.

2. You can use this information to build a birth plan that supports your birth philosophy.

For example, if you believe that birth is dangerous and that high intervention is often

necessary - you problably wouldn't shop for hands-off homebirth midwifery services, but rather, you'd expect a large amount of intervention - so even if it wasn't necessary you might not perceive that birth as traumatic.

On the contrary, if you believe that birth is mostly safe, but sometimes needs intervention. . . and you trust that your baby guides you through the birth they want or need for their incarnation. . . but you fear death and feel safer being close to or in a hospital- then you might shop for a birth center or a hospital-based midwife and opt for a more hands-off, lower intervention birth. With this philosophy, any deviation from the birth you deeply hope for might be perceived as traumatic and the faith of your baby's spirit guiding you might also help to lessen any grief.

3. Your birth philosophy, ideally, will help you lead your interactions with potential providers.

When interviewing or going about your routine with your provider, check in with how your philosophy and their philosophy align and where they don't. Assess if this feels like a problem to you or not, and if so - is it a conflict you wish to resolve or gain more clarity on by discussing it with your provider? Your philosophy will also guide which routine tests and procedures you are more or less likely to accept during prenatal care, which can be used to gauge how supportive your provider is of your agency.

4. Both your birth plan and your birth philosophy can be fluid as you move through your birth experience.

Birth is a teacher, and your ability to surrender to the process, while recognizing your own personal transformation through the birth portal is a beautiful skill. Birth is bigger than any of us can fully comprehend.


Birth & Postpartum Planning Support

I Can Help You:

  1. Organize your thoughts & feelings about birth and birth plans

  2. Get clear on your priorities for your birth experience

  3. Reflect on how your birth plan aligns with your birth philosophy

  4. Explore your full spectrum of birth options, providers, and settings

  5. Increase confidence in your agency and intuition

Thank You for Being Part of the Healing Birth Community!

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