Goal Setting for Birth

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Goal setting for birth

 by Andy Mayer

To me the act of writing a birth plan is synonymous with self belief and being proactive. I cant say how many times I have heard the phrases. “A birth plan is a waste of time” or  “what’s going to happen will happen anyway”.. “My midwife/ob told me not to bother it will all go out the window on the day”.

How often does this kind of response to planning apply in life and what type of person goes with that perspective?  Is it only reserved for birth planning or is it applicable to other things in life?

If I think about the goals I set for myself for saving money, getting fit, changing habits, planning a holiday and even making a purchase there is a considerable amount of effort placed on figuring out a way to achieve the goal and then putting steps in place to make it happen.

In the case of fitness I spend a lot more time pondering the concept rather than actually implementing it but that is off topic or is it? Do women spend lots of time thinking about how they will prepare for birth or thinking about birth rather than actually doing anything to afford them the birth they want. Is it just too far removed from an ingrained belief that birth is out of their control. Is it simply to difficult to believe that birth can be under their control to a degree that affords confidence, satisfaction and a sense of control regardless of the actual birth?

I have heard from clients that their emergency c section was amazing or beautiful and  calm, I have heard stories of having every possible obstetric intervention and really enjoying their birth experience. How about how wonderful it was birthing their 10 pound baby or birthing their premmie baby at just 32 weeks.

What sets these women apart from the other women? What allows a woman to look back on her birth experience with positivity as opposed to feeling traumatized and regretting the experience of birth even if there is some intervention required?

Is it all down to the preparation? I have a sneaking suspicion there is a great deal of confidence to be achieved  by investing in some preparation. By expecting to get back a little from what we put in there could be satisfaction just around the corner. The concept i fly by is  that if you do nothing you are at the mercy of circumstance and circumstance does not lend itself to achieving goals. For high achieving people when you don’t achieve your goals there is often great disappointment, feelings of failure and regret. Can this be reduced by planning?

For example a birth goal might be to avoid an episiotomy. We can find out how to minimise the chance of episiotomy then we can put in strategies to maximise a non episiotomy birth and we can follow through with the action to achieve the goal. A strategy might be using perineal massage techniques. To achieve the goal with massage it is  recommended the massage be done each day once or twice a day for about 10 minutes from 34 weeks. whether you choose to follow the recommendation or not is entirely up to you but if you really wanted to achieve the goal you would most likely set aside the time each day to do the massage. 

You might also find out what else you could do to minimise or avoid an episiotomy and I have put a chart below to show an example of planning and implementing to achieve birth goals.

Goal Strategy
 to avoid episiotomy use an Epi-No or learn perineal massage
remove MSG from my diet
practise to relax my jaw and other muscles in body daily
no straining on the toilet
ensuring my care provider does not do routine episiotomy


There are no rights or wrongs in birth choices only consequences of those choices. I believe all parents deserve the right to prepare positively for the birth of their baby regardless of the type of birth. NobleBirth is committed to providing you with excellent skills, confidence and knowledge for your baby’s birth.

There is an instant download template for birth goals on our website for $0.99. It’s a small investment for some fantastic outcomes.


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