How to Write a Birth Plan
When it comes to having your baby your way, putting it in writing can help.
A birth plan is an optional document that lets you outline your hopes, fears and preferences when it comes time to give birth. It’s a way to keep all your birth day care providers in the know about what is important to you.
Important is the key word. If you don’t care about the lighting in your room, or whether or not music is played, you don’t need to include it in your birth plan. If something is common or generally accepted, such as having your birth partner in the room with you, you don’t need to include that, either. However, your feelings about pain management, and whether or not you want to labor in different positions, would be helpful to put in your birth plan.
Remember that having a baby can be unpredictable, and a birth plan is not a contract or a guarantee. It’s simply a summary of your preferences when there is more than one acceptable way to do things. Try to keep it friendly, flexible and realistic, and limit it to what matters most to you.
Here are some steps to get started:
- Take childbirth preparation classes, read books, and talk to friends who have given birth so you can be informed about what your options are.
- Spend some quiet time reflecting on your own preferences, talk them over with your birth partner, and write down your thoughts. You can also check out our birth plan template.
- Share your draft with your doctor or midwife at your next appointment, and discuss it with her.
- Create your final draft after getting feedback from your provider, and print out several copies to bring with you to the birth center.