Having a baby is life-changing, difficult and lovely; so, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about what you want this great event to be like. Birth plans are extremely important. A birth plan is a clear and brief plan that is about 1-2 pages, outlining your pertinent information, who is on your birth team, emergency contact information, your desires for pain management, and what you want to happen to baby after birth (topical medications, vaccines, bathing, etc.). This plan is included in your file and available to all of the medical professionals to refer to as they care for you.

Birth Plans: What Are They & How To Write Them

Birth plans are extremely important. Having a baby is life-changing, so you’ll want to spend time thinking about what you want it to be like.

The Basics To Include

  • Your name, and the names of all people on your birth team (family, friend, doula, midwifery or medical practice, etc.)
  • Any medications you are taking- over the counter and otherwise
  • Any allergies you have
  • Emergency contact information
  • If you are group-b strep positive, have gestational diabetes, etc.

Do Some Research

Ask your healthcare professional what their normal processes are for birth and tour the hospital to learn about what the standard procedures are. This will give you a clearer idea of what you may want different in your particular birth. It is important to know that you have the freedom to choose what you treatment you receive and make informed and educated decisions.

Put Some Thought Into It

The American Pregnancy Association outlines several questions for you to consider when preparing to write your birth plan. It is important to think about all stages of birth including your labor, medical interventions during birth, post-partum mother/ baby treatment and breastfeeding. Some questions that the APA offers are:

  • Who do you want to be present?
  • What would you like to use for pain? Pain coping techniques? Epidural?
  • Do you want your baby placed immediately on your chest?
  • Do you want your baby to be bathed?
  • Do you want immediate or delayed cord clamping?
  • Do you wish for you baby to have the Hep B Vaccine, erythromycin eye ointment, and vitamin k shot?

What if there is an emergency?

Write a birth plan for your ideal birth but know that with birth, things rarely go just as you plan. One portion of your birth plan should include your preferences for emergency situations. If you have to have a cesarean birth, do you have any special requests?

As a birthing mother, you have the right to ask questions at any time, even during your birth. If, at any point, you feel pressured to do something, remember that you have the freedom to ask questions and choose what you think is best for you and your baby. Try using this mnemonic to help you in your decision making:

Benefits – What are the benefits of this?

Risks – What could be the possible risks if I don’t do this?

Alternatives – What are the alternatives to this, are there other options?

Intuition – Listen to your gut instincts.

Now – Now what will happen? Make a decision.

As parents, we will have to make decisions that we think are best for our families and birth is no different. Making decisions about the first moments of your child’s life are the first of many to come! Let the journey begin!

Birth plans are extremely important. Having a baby is life-changing, so you’ll want to spend time thinking about what you want it to be like.

Alise Durkota
Alise Durkota
Alise is a mother of two who loves the slow, small town life. She is a teacher turned stay at home mom who loves cooking, her husband, going on long neighborhood walks, just about any baked good (with coffee) and playing with her children. She has a passion for all things childhood development, teaching, and learning.