Pregnancy Birth Plan: How to Write Your Birth Plan to Express Your Labor & Delivery Preferences by 30Seconds Pregnancy
A birth plan is an important tool for expectant parents that enables them to think about and then share the details about how they would like to welcome their baby into the world. Creating your birth plan enables you to think through your preferences for labor and delivery, and then share those preferences with your family, doctor or midwife and the entire health care team.
Your birth plan is unique to you. It can be comprehensive, with every detail spelled out, or it can be a loose summary of things that matter to you. Regardless of how much information is in your birth plan, it’s important to note that no matter how carefully you plan, labor and delivery is often unpredictable. That means that while your care team may be aware of your preferences in advance, they will need to do whatever it takes in the moment to ensure a healthy delivery for your baby (and for you).
Here's more about why you should consider writing your birth plan. Below, we share a list of things to think about when you write your birth plan. Consider this a list of options to research and then choose from when composing your plan:
What do you want to call your birth plan?
- My/Our Birth Plan
- My/Our Birth Preferences
- My/Our Preferences for Labor & Delivery
- My/Our Wishes for Childbirth
- How I/We Wish to Bring Our Baby Into the World
How will you personalize your information?
- Your first and last name
- Name, title and contact info of your health care provider
- Name and contact info of your hospital or birth center
- Your due date
- Your coach’s name and contact info
- Your doula’s name and contact info
- Names and contact info of any others who will be present at the birth
- Title/name to call your baby (e.g. “my baby,” “my daughter,” “the twins,” etc.)
What are your preferences for your labor and delivery?
For My Labor
- I prefer to move around and change positions throughout my labor.
- I prefer to have fluids by mouth throughout the first stage of labor.
- I prefer to keep the number of vaginal exams to a minimum.
- I prefer to walk around during my labor.
- I prefer to listen to my own music during labor and will bring a playlist (on iPod? Phone? Tablet? CD?).
- I prefer the room environment to be as quiet as possible.
- I prefer the room lighting to be kept low during labor.
- I prefer to not have an IV unless it becomes necessary.
- I prefer to wear my contact lenses or glasses unless it becomes necessary to remove them.
- I prefer that no student doctors, interns, residents or non-essential hospital personnel be in my room during my labor and delivery.
For Fetal and Maternal Monitoring
- I prefer not to have continuous fetal monitoring unless it is deemed necessary.
- I prefer not to have an internal monitor unless it is deemed necessary.
For Stimulating or Inducing Labor
- I prefer not to have the amniotic membrane ruptured artificially unless it becomes necessary.
- I prefer to try changing my position and stimulating my nipples before Pitocin is administered.
- If my labor is not progressing, I would prefer to have the amniotic membrane ruptured before other methods.
For Pain Relief or Anesthesia
- I prefer not to have anesthesia offered during labor, though would like it available if needed.
- I prefer to ask for pain medication rather than be offered it.
- I prefer to try an injection of narcotic pain relief before being offered an epidural.
- I prefer to have a standard epidural.
- I prefer to have a low dose walking epidural.
- Other preference:
For a Cesarean Delivery
- If my healthcare provider determines that I need a Cesarean delivery, I would like a second opinion from another physician if time permits.
- I prefer that my coach or doula be present if my baby requires a Cesarean delivery.
- I prefer to have an epidural for anesthesia.
- I prefer that my baby be given to my coach or doula after delivery unless my baby is in distress.
- I prefer to avoid a Cesarean delivery unless it is deemed absolutely necessary.
- I prefer to be fully informed and to participate in the decision-making process if a Cesarean delivery becomes necessary.
- I prefer the screen to be lowered just before delivery so I can watch my baby being born.
For My Perineum or Episiotomy
- I prefer not to have an episiotomy unless it becomes necessary for a safe delivery.
- I prefer to protect my perineum. In anticipation of a smooth delivery, I am doing squats, Kegel exercises and perineal massage in advance.
- I prefer guidance for when to push and not to push so the perineum has the opportunity to stretch.
- I prefer perineal massage to help avoid an episiotomy.
- I prefer an episiotomy rather than a perineal tear.
- I prefer local anesthetic to repair a perineal tear or episiotomy.
For Baby’s Delivery
- I prefer that my coach, doula and/or nurses support me and my legs during the pushing stage.
- I prefer that a mirror be available so I can see the baby crowning.
- I prefer to wait until I feel the urge to push before beginning the pushing phase, even if I am fully dilated.
- I prefer to have my baby placed on my chest after birth.
- I prefer to choose the position in which I give birth.
- I prefer to deliver in the hands-and-knees position.
- I prefer to deliver in the squatting position, with my coach, doula or a squat bar for support.
- I prefer to touch my baby's head during crowning.
- I prefer the room lights on low during delivery.
- I prefer the room as quiet as possible when my baby is born.
After Baby’s Delivery
- I prefer to cut the cord myself.
- I prefer to have my coach or doula (or someone else I name) cut the cord.
- I prefer that my coach or doula (or someone else I name) accompany my baby if my baby needs to be taken from me for any reason.
- I prefer a private room if possible.
- I prefer to be able to try to to urinate on my own before being catheterized.
- I prefer to donate my baby’s umbilical cord blood.
- I prefer that the umbilical cord be allowed to stop pulsating before cutting it.
- I prefer to hold my baby while I deliver the placenta.
- I prefer to hold my baby for as long as possible before my baby is examined.
- I prefer my baby to be evaluated and bathed where I can see my baby.
- I prefer to keep my baby near me after delivery, and prefer the evaluation on my chest, unless there is a reason why it can’t be so.
- I prefer not to have an injection of Pitocin after delivery to aid in birthing my placenta.
- I prefer to delay eye medication for my baby for as long as possible after delivery.
- I prefer to bank my baby’s umbilical cord blood, and have arranged for this in advance.
- I would like to see the placenta after delivery.
- I would like to keep my placenta, and have made arrangements for this in advance.
- I prefer that my other child or children be allowed to visit my baby and me in the hospital.
My Breastfeeding Wishes
- I prefer to breastfeed my baby and would like to nurse my baby after birth.
- I prefer not to breastfeed my baby.
- I would like to meet with a lactation consultant as soon as possible after delivery.
- I prefer to not have any bottles given to my baby after delivery.
- I prefer that my baby not be given a pacifier.
- I prefer not to be separated from my baby unless there is a significant reason to do so.
- I prefer that my baby "rooms in" with me at all times.
- I prefer to have my baby "room in" with me after I have recovered.
- I prefer that my baby stays with me during the day and stays in the hospital nursery at night.
- I prefer that my baby stays with me during the day and stays in the hospital nursery at night, but be brought to me for breastfeeding at all times.
- I prefer that my baby be kept in the hospital nursery and brought to me whenever I request.
- I prefer to have information on breastfeeding my baby.
- I prefer to have information on bottle feeding my baby.
My Circumcision Wishes
- I prefer not to have my baby circumcised.
- I prefer not to have my baby’s circumcision done in the hospital.
- I would prefer that my baby be circumcised at the hospital.
My Photo and Video Wishes
- I prefer to take photos during labor and delivery.
- I prefer to take video of my labor and delivery.
- I prefer to have no photos or videos taken during labor and delivery.
My Other Wishes
- Add anything here that is not mentioned above.
Have fun creating your personal birth plan!