The anticipation of labor and delivery can make even the most informed parent nervous after all, there are many things out of your control. A birth plan, or birth preferences, is a great way to help ease anxiety and take control of the items you do have control over. It is a written document that communicates your labor, delivery, and postpartum preferences to your birth team. A birth plan can include preferences for topics such as lighting, pain management, pushing positions, and more.
Writing a birth plan has several benefits:
- Helps you think through and research your options before your birth.
- Facilitates informed conversations between you and your provider.
- Keeps everyone on your birth team aware of your preferences.
- Can help you feel more prepared and in control your birth.
What Should be Included?
No matter what, there is no wrong way to write a birth plan; they can vary from person to person, so before writing anything, it’s important to think about what your ideal birth experience would look like. If you plan on having a doula, they can help you write your birth plan.
Be sure to include anything you feel will be instrumental in helping you achieve your labor and delivery goals. Some things you may want to include is who you would like to be in attendance (doula, birth photographer, your spouse, etc.) as well as what kind of environment or setting you would prefer for labor and delivery. It can also help to think about what you might want in regards to pain management and monitoring during labor.
How to Write a Birth Plan
Birth plans can provide a wide range of information, from very high-level and basic to extremely detailed. No matter what, it’s important that you and your partner come up with a plan both of you are comfortable with.
My free birth plan checklist provides a list of options to consider or you can use it as is. Once you have finalized your plan, be sure to print out a copy to help guide discussions with your provider beforehand. When labor begins, it is helpful to have several copies printed so you can discuss them with the on-call provider, labor and delivery nurses, and the rest of your birth team.