Yes absolutely every pregnant mom should write a birth plan! Just like anything in life, it really benefits you to have a plan. Setting your intentions and writing them down will help you manifest what you intend to achieve.

What exactly is a birth plan?

Your birth plan should represent your set of goals for your birth. Remember that the choices you make during your pregnancy, labor, and birth are the choices that you will live with for the rest of your life. Your doctor or your midwife, or your nurses do not have to live with the consequences or outcomes of your choices. You and your family do!  So make sure you are actively participating in those choices.

How do I actively participate in the choices made during childbirth?

First you need to get educated. It is the one thing you can do to help your baby into the world as safely as possible. Learn the risks and benefits of all of the interventions.  Don’t let others make decisions for you in pregnancy, labor, and birth, except in a true emergency. Make your healthy decision WITH your care providers. It is their legal obligation to fully inform you so that you can give consent.  But it is your responsibility to ASK QUESTIONS! To know which questions to ask, you should learn about informed consent questions. Hopefully your childbirth educator will drill these questions into your brain in your childbirth classes.

Let’s Get Started Writing Your Birth Plan!

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Once you are finished creating your birth plan, you will have your care provider sign it. You’ll make at least 4 copies of your birth plan: one goes in your file at the office; one goes in your file when you pre-register at the hospital or birth center; one or two go with you to give to the nurses when you arrive at your birth place.  It’s important to be flexible because the one thing you can count on in labor and birth is the unexpected.


Example: We understand this plan consists of our goals for our labor and baby’s birth.  We intend to be flexible.  We consider mother’s and baby’s health and safety our top priority.  We hope you will work with us as a team to achieve the birth we envision.  We would appreciate all your help in achieving a natural birth.
__No I.V.
         __Heparin or Saline lock
         __Mobile I.V.
         __Placement (forearm, hand, etc.)
         __Manual auscultation (fetoscope,stethoscope)
         __One 20 minute external electronic strip
         __Intermittent external fetal monitoring once every 1 or 2 hours
         __Continuous external fetal monitoring
         __Continuous internal monitoring
         __Some mobility
Positions for labor
         __Freedom to change positions/walk around
         __Confined to bed in various positions
         __Confined to bed in one position
Dealing with pain
         __Natural methods
         __Medication at mother’s request
         __DO NOT offer medication
Enhance or speed labor
__Natural methods (visualization, walk, change  positions, nipple stimulation…)
__Enema, castor oil (See No Poopin’ While Pushin’)
__Artificial rupture of membranes
__Herbal remedies
Empty bladder
         __Walk to toilet
         __Bedpan in bed
Fluids (See What to Eat and Drink In Labor)
         __Juice, water, Popsicles
         __Water only
         __Ice chips only
         __I.V. fluids only
         __Mother’s choice
         __No food
Cervical checks
         __Few at mother’s request only
         __Staff prerogative
 Position for pushing:
The mother has been encouraged to take whatever position is most comfortable to her and to vary positions during second stage until delivery (semi-sitting, sitting, side-lying, hands and knees, standing, squatting, etc. she has been discouraged from using the lithotomy or any supine position during descent of the baby, and for a delivery unless forceps, vacuum extractor, or episiotomy become necessary.
__Mother’s choice (vertical, hands/knees, squat, side lying)
Bed for Birth
         __Birth chair, beanbag, floor, bed, toilet
         __Hospital bed/labor bed
         __Delivery table
Pushing techniques:                                       
Rather than prolonged breath holding and bearing down throughout contractions, her bearing down and breath holding efforts will be spontaneous and in response to the strength and duration of her urge to push. Bearing down will be for a shorter period (5-6 seconds) than is usually encouraged.  There will be several moments between these bearing down efforts during which she will breathe without pushing.
         __Spontaneous bearing down
         __Directed pushing (counting by birth attendants)
Speed actual birth:
Pelvic floor relaxation
1 suggest that she change position if progress is slow
2 remind her to bear down with the urge, and not to push unless she has the urge
3 remind her to let go-thereby relaxing the pelvic floor
4 if spontaneous bearing down and changing position do not result in progress, ask her to bear down longer and more forcefully.
         __Prolonged pushing on command
         __Vacuum extractor
         __Patience for natural methods (position changes, visualization, intense coaching)
 Slow actual birth
         __Panting slowly like blowing out birthday cake candles
Care of Perineum
__Try for intact perineum (massage, positions, support, hot/cold compresses)
         __Pressure episiotomy without pain medication
         __ Other
 Baby Catcher
         __Parent’s choice (father, coach, family member)
Cord cutting
         __Clamp & cut after pulsating stops
         __Clamp & cut immediately
         __Parent’s choice who cuts cord (i.e. father/coach)
         __Doctor or nurse
Placenta birth
__Spontaneous/natural (breast stimulation, baby suckling,)
         __Fundal massage
In case of Cesarean Section: See Family Centered Cesarean Birth Plan

and see Ideas For The Best Cesarean Possible

Timing (if planned)
         _After labor begins
         _Scheduled before labor begins
 Precaution (if not planned)
         _Fetal scalp sample
         _No fetal scalp sample
 Others present
         _No separation of mother and coach
         _Medical staff only
         _Doula only

 Pain medication
         _Regional with little or no premedication
         _Regional with premedication
         _Screen lowered at birth
         _Events explained as proceeding
         _No participation by parents
 Contact with baby
         _Held by mother or father soon after birth
         _Breastfeeding soon after birth
         _Sent immediately to nursery with father in attendance
Don’t forget to discuss pain management options for post surgery.  Remember to ask about meds: effects on breast milk and baby. Ask your pediatrician and lactation consultant the same questions.  You may get a different perspective or answer.