Short Answer – A birth plan is a document that lets your medical team/practitioner know your preferences for your birth experience. It’s a good idea to have one to help avoid any misunderstandings or added stress during your delivery.

Make Your Wishes Known

You’ve been thinking about your impending birth for months. You’ve done research, talked to your partner and practitioner about it (at length) and now you have a pretty good idea of how you want the whole experience to go down.  

How do you want pain medication handled? Who cuts the umbilical cord? What position do you want to deliver in? While you can’t control every aspect of labor and delivery, you can still be sure your wishes are known by creating a written birth plan to answer these and other questions before the big day. Because trust us, when you’re in the midst of labor contractions, you might not be thinking 100% clearly. Your doctor may forget what you’d discussed before.

Try A Birth Plan Template

Most hospitals provide a brochure or plan worksheet to let you know what the different birth options are. For example, if you’re planning on having a natural birthThis is a good place to start. Get your partner involved, and start mapping out your ideal birth experience. Don’t forget the after birth details, such as if you will be having your child vaccinated at the hospital. Those should be included in your birth plan too.

You can use a birth plan template to make this process easier (we have attached three different worksheet versions below). Choose whatever form works best for you. Then talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your preferences and see if they have any additional options, input, or concerns. Determine if you need to make any changes to your original plan based on your conversation and update your worksheet accordingly. 

Once you have your birth plan worksheet finalized, print out several copies of the document and be sure to pack them in your “go” bag for the hospital. You’ll want to share your birth plan with your doctor, partner, and doula (if applicable) ahead of time.

You also want to have several extra copies ready to be distributed on game day. You may need to give one to your practitioner again as a reminder, and you’ll want to provide one to the head nurse and other members of your birth team that you haven’t met yet. This way, everyone will be starting with the same playbook!

Just be aware, you’ll still need to be a little flexible because things don’t always go according to plan.  The most important thing is always the safe delivery of your baby…this trumps any plan.  

Birth Plan Worksheets:

Do you have any tips for expectant moms on how to create a birth plan? Share them in our Pregnancy Community!