How to Write a Birth Plan

By now it’s safe to assume you know how the baby you’re growing got in to your belly. Some days you may look at your growing tummy and wonder how that baby is going to get out. When you start having these thoughts, it’s time to write your birth plan.

Anyone who’s had a baby knows that things rarely go completely according to plan, but if you’re hoping for a certain experience, a birth plan can be a great way to let your doctor or medical provider know your preferences. Think of your birth plan less like directions and more like a road map, marked with the beginning and end points as well as a few places you’d really like to stop to sightsee along the way.

Speak to your doctor or midwife to discuss your birthing options. Of course, they are the medical experts and you’ve likely selected them because their philosophy or practices fit with your vision, but it's critical to remember that they work for you and not the other way around. Writing a birth plan is a big step toward opening the dialogue between you and giving voice to your wishes in a formal way. Also this is a great time to make sure that your medical provider or birthing facility is supportive of the options that are most important to you.


A birth plan can be a simple written checklist or a fancy chart with colorful graphics (check Etsy for some really pretty ones!) Some hospitals may provide a form that you can complete that lists your preferences for the things they can accommodate. Just make sure it’s simple and clear - you want to ensure the medical providers - who will realistically be managing care for a few birthing mamas at the same time - can readily find the information they need on your birth plan.


There can be a wide range of options you can list but they should fall into three main categories:

1)  Your wishes during labor

• Who will be supporting you during labor? (husband/partner, mom/friend, doula)
• What is your preference for managing pain/discomfort?
• Lights dimmed?
• Minimal cervical checks?
• Intermittent vs continual monitoring?
• Preferences for birthing positions / labor props (e.g. peanut ball)

2) Baby Care after Birth

• Immediate skin-to-skin contact with baby?
• Would you like delayed cord clamping?
• Who would you like to cut the baby’s umbilical cord?
• Do you plan to breastfeed?
• If your baby is a boy, will you want them circumcised in the hospital?

3) Mom Care after Birth

• Would you like pain relief after birth?
• Wishes for placenta delivery/placenta retention or disposal?

These are not exhaustive lists but provide a good starting place for you in planning your birth.
After the safety of you and your baby, the most important aspect of this experience is that you are seen as an active participant.
A birth plan can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be respected.

Article by: Jessica Kivnik