A birth plan is a written document summarizing your wishes for your birth experience. Creating your plan will give you a chance to prepare in advance for questions that may come up during your labor and delivery. Once you have a finished, printed document, then you can share and discuss it with your care team, birth partners, or any family members involved in your birth.
Three Types of Birth Plans
I wrote three different birth plans for my labor and delivery.
The first plan was a two-page document to give to my midwife team and my birth partner. Page one discussed who I wanted in the room and my different hopes and wishes for my labor. Page two was a list of contact phone numbers. I gave the plan to my midwife team well before my birth. We discussed it during one of my regularly scheduled appointments and they saved it in my file.
The second plan that I wrote was a short, one-page emergency plan. This was meant to be handed to the nursing team in the event that we needed to go to the hospital for an emergency. My emergency plan was concise, with only a short list of my highest priority items.
The third plan I wrote was just for myself and my birth partner. It was a long document that I filled with all the stuff I’d learned that I could use during my labor. Birthing positions, breathing exercises, inspirational words, and whatever else I wanted to remember for the birth.
Tips for Writing a Birth Plan
- Keep it short – Care staff team members generally don’t want to read a ten page document and won’t be able to retain that much information. Summarize into one page if possible.
- Put the most important points to YOU at the top of the document.
- Talk about your birth plan out loud with your care team ahead of time.
- Print out your plans and put them in your birth bag, with extra copies to give out if needed.
- Be prepared to throw your birth plan out the window. Don’t get over attached to your plans if things progress in another way. Birth is unpredictable and that is okay!
- Make sure to review and clear your birth plan with your primary care provider, and revise it to fit your specific needs and situation.
Example Natural Birth Plan
Example Emergency Birth Plan
Writing a Birth Plan is Valuable
Spending time writing a birth plan is a worthwhile activity that will have huge benefits when it comes to the actual day of your labor and delivery. Remember to keep it short and take time to revise it after discussing it with your care team. Print out copies to have on hand for the big day. And above all, as we say in yoga class, don’t get too attached! Birth is unpredictable and can’t be controlled. Attachment is the root cause of so much suffering in our lives. All these thoughts aside, I loved my birth plan! Birth plans allow you to think through things in advance and facilitates communication ahead of the big day.
HealthyYogaMom is written by Tess, a writer and mother of two who is passionate about health, happiness, and a sustainable living on the planet. Learn more about Tess here.