Delivering a baby is hard work (it’s called labor for a reason!). One way to help make it more manageable is having a written birth plan that outlines your preferences. A birth plan can be a helpful guide. It can inform your birth partner, doula and healthcare provider about your preferences.
Below are three important tips for helping you create a birth plan and links to free, user friendly sample birth plans to help guide you along the way.
- nclude the type of experience you would like to have but also allow for flexibility if things don't go as planned (which is entirely possible!). The content and level of detail in your birth plan should be based on your personal preferences. You may want to include things like the atmosphere and ambience of the delivery room, your birth strategy, labor and delivery techniques, whether or not you prefer to have a natural birth (even though you will not receive a gold star if you do!) and the type of pain medication you would prefer to take.
- Prepare your birth plan as soon as possible during your third trimester in case your baby comes earlier than you expect. My first baby was born prematurely, which came as a huge surprise. Needless to say, I completed my birth plan and got my hospital bag ready to go at the beginning of my third trimester the second time around!
- Don't keep your birth plan a secret. Once your birth plan is complete, don't just forget about it!
Keep your birth plan in a safe and easily accessible place. You may want to keep a copy of your birth plan in your hospital bag, or to be able to access an electronic version from your cell phone.
- Give a copy to your healthcare provider(s) to review. Do this as soon as it is ready to make sure you are on the same page.
- Give a copy to your support team asap. You may want to give a hard and soft copy of your birth plan to your birth partner and others who you expect to support you during labor and delivery. This will help prepare them for the big day. Keep in mind that your support person or team needs your guidance to help them properly advocate for you if and when you need them to!
These free, user friendly birth plans are a great starting point, especially if you are looking for ideas about the type of things to include in your birth plan.
For more information about birth plans, check out the Labor and Delivery page of this website.