- A birth plan is a list of preferences for how you want to labor and birth your baby.
- Plans can change on the spot but a birth plan helps you have an idea of what to expect so you aren't making birth decisions in the moment.
- Your list should be in phases. Environment, Labor, Delivery, and Post-Delivery Care are just a few examples of what your list should cover.
A birth plan is a simple document that lists your preferences for how you want to labor and birth your baby. While it’s great to have a plan, you’ve got to remain flexible since at the end of the day, the main goal is a healthy baby and a healthy mama.
While things might change, a birth plan helps you and your partner to think through decisions ahead of time so that you don’t have to do it in the moment. No one wants to be answering questions and making decisions in the middle of labor! Once you have thought through things, then you can share your plan with your health care provider so that they know how you would like things to go.
It’s important that you discuss the plan with your partner or support people so that they know what you want their role to be in advocating for your plan on the big day.
It’s helpful to think through it in phases.
- Who do you want in the delivery room (partner, doula, other family members, etc.)?
- Do you want to listen to music and have focal points?
- Do you want access to the tub or shower?
- Do you want mobility during labor, or to stay in bed?
- What activities or positions do you want to try to use during labor? (walking, standing, squatting, hands and knees)
- What will you do for pain relief? (massage, hot and cold packs, positions, labor imagery, relaxation, breathing exercises, tub or Jacuzzi, medication)
- How do you feel about fetal monitoring during labor?
- Do you want to take pain medications, or not? Do you have a preference for certain pain medications?
- How do you plan to stay hydrated? (sips of drinks, ice chips, IV)
- Do you want to wear your own clothing?
- Do you prefer a certain position to give birth?
- Would you be willing to have an episiotomy? Or, are there certain measures you want to use to avoid one?
- For home and birth center births, what are our plans for hospital transport in case of emergency?
- If you need a cesarean (C-section), do you have any special requests?
- Do you want delayed umbilical cord clamping?
- Do you want skin to skin contact with baby right after birth?
- Do you wish to breastfeed immediately after birth?
- What are your preferences for your baby’s care? (when to feed, where to sleep)
Just type it up in a simple Word document or write it down! It doesn’t need to be fancy. Having this all out on paper will definitely bring you peace of mind while you wait for your little one’s arrival date! Pickles & Ice Cream Georgia (P&I) has lots of other resources, so make sure to check out our other articles for questions on labor and delivery.
Free Birth Plan Templates