If you’re pregnant you may be thinking about starting a birthing plan.
And you should!
Birth plans can be super helpful to have during labor and delivery!
But if you’ve never made one before and have no idea where to start then you’ve come to the right place!
Here I’ll show first time moms how to make a birth plan, ideas of what you could put in yours, and some examples of birth plans.
This is article will tell you eerything you need to know about birthing plans and how to make one!
(This post may contain affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
What is a Birth Plan?
A birth plan is exactly how it sounds.
Your birth plan is just a plan that lists all of your goals, preferences, and wishes for during labor, birth, and after the baby is born.
Think of it as a plan of your ideal birth with how you would like things to happen during it.
As long as things go according to plan of course.
Why Should I Make a Birth Plan?
When I was pregnant with my first I decided that I didn’t need a birthing plan.
I figured that all my wishes would be easily heard just by me simply saying it.
Well, that’s not exactly how it went…
As it turns out it was a little bit harder to communicate what I wanted, especially since I was in labor.
I had a decent idea of what I wanted but not everyone was on the same page as me.
They DIDN’T know what my preferences were until I would have to say something last minute.
This was very frustrating and had me pretty worried that all my desires may not be met cause of a lack of communication.
Having a birth plan helps keep EVERYONE (you, your partner, doctor, nurses, etc.) on the same page.
Right from the get-go, everyone on your birthing team will have somewhat of an idea of how you want your birth to be handled.
As long as everyone there sees it and gets a copy.
Another reason making a birth plan is a good idea is cause it’ll help give YOU an idea of how you want everything to go.
A lot of people don’t really know how they want birth to go. And you don’t want to be completely clueless either.
So even if it’s just a super simple list of things it’ll help give you a good idea without feeling totally lost.
When Should You Write a Birth Plan?
I would say to start writing it sometime during your 3rd trimester.
But I’d be sure to get it started by at least 36 weeks if you haven’t yet!
That way you’ll have enough time to review it and discuss your birth plan with anyone else who may need to see it, like your doctor.
But of course, you can start writing your birth plan whenever you’re ready to.
Should Someone Review My Birth Plan?
You and your partner should review it together first.
Once you feel that it’s done and you’re comfortable with it, you can have your doula, if you have one, look over it.
You can also have your doctor and the hospital review it.
That way if they have certain policies in place, you can talk about it/resolved it ahead of time.
You don’t want to be caught off guard after you find out that you can’t do the ONE thing you were superset on.
Especially the day you go in to give BIRTH!
Not only would it be upsetting but it could completely derail your focus from preparing yourself for what IS happening.
Who Should Have a Copy of My Birth Plan?
You want to be sure that anyone that’s gonna be apart of and in the room during labor and delivery has a copy of your birth plan.
Meaning your doctor or midwife, nurses, your birthing partner, labor coach, and any other support people who are gonna be in the room with you.
That way everyone is aware of what you want.
Your support people can also help initiate things if they know what’s on there. So they can communicate with the other doctors and nurses for you if needed.
If you don’t want to make a bunch of copies you could also just make one big poster-sized birth plan and place in your room so anyone who’s in there will be able to see it.
Ideas of What to Write in Your Birth Plan
Here are some ideas of what you can include in your birth plan.
No, you don’t need to add all of these or even any of these.
Just the ones you want and feel NEED to be on it.
You can list down some general information that you may want on hand. Like your doctor’s number, your support person/people contact info, and maybe even your child’s future pediatrician’s number.
- Due date
- Baby’s name
- Your contact details
- The contact details of your doctor/midwife
- Contact details of your doula
Here is where you can list down things like your birth setting, how you want to cope with labor pains, and other preferences you may have for during labor.
- Who do you want in the room with you during labor and/or delivery (friend, sister, mom, doula, child, mother-in-law)
- Are you open to doing any pain medications, if so are there certain ones you prefer
- What positions do you want/don’t want to be in
- Do you want to be able to walk around freely
- Would you like to spend some of your labor in a birth pool or tub
- Are you wanting to eat and drink during labor
- Do you want to be able to take photos and/or videos
- Do you want to use certain labor items there (exercise ball, peanut ball)
- Are you okay with constant fetal monitoring
- Do you want to wear your own clothes instead of a hospital gown
- Do you want to stay hydrated using an IV, water, or ice chips
- Are you okay with them using medications to induce labor
- Are you okay with them using medications to augment or speed up the labor process
- Do you want dim lights or music for your ideal birth setting
Giving Birth Requests
How would you like to give birth? Are there certain positions you want to try? Are there any medical procedures you want to try and avoid? Lists those things here!
- Do you prefer a vaginal delivery or a c-section
- Are you okay with couched pushing
- What positions do you want to be in/try birthing in
- What positions do you NOT want to be in
- Is it okay for them to use vacuum extraction or forceps to help assist the baby to come out of the birth canal
- Can they perform an episiotomy on you or do you want to tear naturally (if it ends up happening anyway)
- If your hospital is a teaching one, are you okay with having a student there to watch and/or help assist with the birth
- Do you want a mirror to see the birth
- Do you want your partner to catch the baby when he/she comes out
After Delivery Requests
Everything feels like it happens so fast once the baby is born! So you should try to have somewhat of an idea of what you want to happen afterward. Like does the baby go straight to you or Dad? Do you have special requests for the umbilical cord or placenta?
- Do you want to do skin-to-skin contact right away with baby
- Do you want to do delayed cord clamping
- Who do you want to cut the cord
- If planning on breastfeeding do you want to breastfeed soon after the baby is born
- Do you want to delay newborn procedures to allow time for bonding
- Do you want to do blood cord banking
- Do you have special requests for the placenta
- Do you have any cultural or traditional rituals that you would like to take place after giving birth
Newborn Care Requests
What type of things would you like to happen for newborn care? Are there things that you don’t want to be done to the baby? Can the baby go to the nursery? Or does the baby have to be with Dad or you the whole time? List how you’d like the baby to be taken care of here.
- Are you okay with shots, if not what shots
- Is it okay to give baby eye drops
- Do you want to delay baby eye drops to help with bonding
- Do you want the baby to have a bath, if so who do you want to give baby’s first bath
- Do you want to delay baby’s first bath
- Do you want the vernix left on baby
- Do you want the baby with you the whole time
- Do you want them to explain any/all procedures to you before doing it to baby
- Are you okay with them giving your baby pacifiers
- Are you okay with them giving your baby sugar water
- Do you or do you not want the baby circumcised
- Breastfeeding only or formula
A c-section can come up last minute but some women already know ahead of time if they’re having a cesarean. You can list a couple of “just in case” requests if an emergency arises during labor. And for women who will be having a scheduled c-section, you can make a little birth plan as well! Here are some examples of things you can put into your birth plan.
- Who you would like to be with you in the operating room
- Preferred anesthesia
- Would you like the hospital staff to document the types of incisions made in your abdomen and uterus
- If possible would you like to breastfeed soon after birth
- What kind of post-surgery pain relief do you prefer
- Do you want your partner to hold baby skin-to-skin immediately after birth
- Can you have the baby placed on you while the surgery is finishing
- Do you want a gentle cesarean
- Are you okay with having extra drugs or no
- Do you want monitoring devices placed in more unobtrusive areas
- Who do you want to cut the cord
- Do you want a mirror to see the birth
- Do you want a free hand so you can touch the baby
Example of Birth Plans & What They Look Like
There’s a couple of different ways you can set up your birth plan.
You can either write it doing a list with bullet points or by doing a visual birth plan which uses pictures or symbols.
You can make a birth plan using pretty much any writing program on your computer.
But if you don’t want to write one up you could always use a birth plan template. They have lots of different ones you can get for free online.
Though I will say that they probably won’t be as thorough as one you could make yourself.
So if you have lots of specifications it would be better to just make one yourself.
I promise it’s not as hard as you may think!
Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when making your birth plan:
- Keeping it short and to the point is best
- SIMPLE IS BETTER
- Visual birth plans have been said to be easier for doctors and nurses
Below I made up some example birth plans.
I am a very visual person so I like seeing examples so I can grasp it better.
And I know many other people are too!
Now, these are NOT my actually birthing plans. I just wrote ideas of things that you CAN put into a birth plan.
That way you can kinda see how they’re put together.
So I did try to put a variety of different preferences in them.
Alright, below you check out a couple of different layouts and examples!
Bullet Point Birth Plan Example
Here’s an example of one way you could layout a birth plan. Another way you could set it up is with 2 columns. One of them being things that you WANT or are okay with. And the other that just states things you DON’T want. Using a list style with bullet points helps make it short and simple to read.
Visual Birth Plan Example
This is basically what a visual birth plan looks like Typically it has a picture and below it states what it means. Don’t worry though about having to make one from scratch! There are lots of free visual birth plan templates available on the internet!
Birth Plan for a C-section Example
These are the type of categories that you could have for a c-section birth plan. I made it in a bullet point format cause that seems to be the best (and easiest) way to make them.
What You Should Keep in Mind About Birth Plans
Something you should keep in mind about birth plans is that they are NOT a contract and are NOT permanent.
Meaning things may not go according to plan.
Something could come up and things may change.
Like, let’s say that you put in your birth plan that you want to do a vaginal delivery but you end up needing a c-section.
Giving birth can be unpredictable. So it’s good to just be flexible at times.
(Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, midwife, doula, or any other medical professional. I am only a Mom who is going off of her own experiences and research. You can read my full disclaimer policy here.)
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Did you have a birth plan for a previous birth? Did having a birth plan help? Do you wish you would have learned how to make a birth plan? Tell us about it below in the comments! And if you liked this post, give it a share! Thanks!