What To Do When Birth Plans Change

Photography: Brandi Johnson

By Hannah Mearns

So you’ve taken your hypnobirthing course, you’ve put in your practice, you’ve printed your birth plan out and you’re finally, finally at your due date. But baby is in the ‘wrong’ position and doesn’t seem to want to put in an appearance any time soon. What now?

Well, first of all don’t panic. Panic will stop your body working as it should. Remember the nervous system responses we learnt about? Try not to fall into a continuous adrenaline fuelled fight or flight. Nothing will make a baby stay firmly where it is like a good dose of cortisol.

Second of all, know that babies and pregnant womens’ bodies are capable of amazing feats. Previously free floating, happy go lucky babies can engage and get ready to go within hours; breech babies can flip the night before they’re born (true story – my little sister did this).

I know staying calm is easier said than done and that mean voice that you ruminate on is hard to stop but here’s a few practical tips to help you stay positive when it feels like everything is going wrong.

Get your happy hormones flowing

This is so important. Stress will release cortisol which in turn blocks the body’s ability to receive any feel good oxytocin. Do something nice for yourself to break the cycle – get a massage, have a bath, do some gentle yoga, snuggle up to someone you love to cuddle. If your baby feels safe and loved (remember you share all your hormones at this point), they will find their way when the time is right.

Challenge your first impressions

Although a c-section may not have been in your plans originally, might it now be the right thing? Given that you’re so close to meeting your baby, might those prostaglandin gels start to look like more of a good idea? If you can reframe your choices and consider them through the lens of what’s best for baby as well as this new, very pregnant you, you may find they start to look a bit friendlier.

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