How to Make a Birth Plan

How to write a birth plan.

If you are expecting a baby chances are you have heard the term birth plan.  They are a very common document that a family can make prior to birth that can help you and your care providers know your desires. Birth plans are a helpful part of preparation.

You most likely have also been told by your care provider or well meaning person that you should not be attached to a birth plan, because birth can’t be planned, and that you should be fine with however your birth ends up unfolding.

This highlights one of the many conflicting messages that new parents receive around childbirth. If you are confused about what a birth plan is and how you make one that will a useful to you, and your care providers, the suggestions below should help balance out the conflicting messages.

Before diving into writing a birth continue reading to get a better understanding about what might be included. These are all guidelines and you can do what ever feels right to you! The hardest part of the plan is keeping it short and sweet (1-2 pages with white space), as well as meaningful.

 

What a Birth Plan Might Include:

  • Expression of gratitude to the medical team and an introduction of your amazing family. This is where you get to make your plan POP! Think of this part as your birth mission statement. 

 

  • Introduce any support people that will join you that way people don’t get confused and have a resource if they want to make sure they get your teams name’s correct. 

 

  • List of items that express your hopes or preferences. Topics my include your desires around the following topics: Location of IV placement, pain meds, communication, sensitive topics or emotions, fetal monitoring, cord cutting/blood donation, visitors allowed and the ones who are not allowed in the birth room, postpartum procedures, breastfeeding preferences, babies first bath, who will catch the baby or cut the cord, or any other preference you have. Many things that were once optional are now routine. Before you put in a long list check with your provider or birth location to see what are the current standards in an effort to keep all of your birth plan relevant. 

 

  • Some people feel comfortable briefly sharing this personal information in an effort to build connection and understanding with providers. It can be helpful for the care providers to know any overwhelming fears that may cause upset, or anything else you feel strongly about that would be helpful to the provider this might include any religious beliefs, brief trauma history, information about past pregnancy or birth loss, medical training or experience. Each family will need to sit with what feels right to them and share accordingly. 

 

  • A recap that describes how you wish to welcome your baby into this world and further gratitude. 

 

Important things to know about a birth plan:

  • Any detail on your birth plan may or may not be remembered by staff during labor. Having a birth plan is not a substitute for advocating for your family in labor and postpartum.

 

  • Some of your preferences may become impossible to achieve due to unplanned circumstances.

 

  • Short and sweet is best unless there is something that is relevant to the staff that you feel should be explained in full detail.

 

Questions to ponder before you write your birth plan:

1. What does a birth plan mean from the providers perspective.

2. What is your family feeling vibe about birth?

3. What information would be most helpful for them to know about you? Is there something about your excitement, fears, history, relationship that may play a part in your labor and be helpful for the staff to know about?

4. What are your birth hopes?

5. How do you envision the first few hours of the babies life? What do you want to be doing that time? Is there a ritual that you would like to do to mark the moment beyond the traditional procedures?

 

Birth plans are individual and need to reflect who you are and include helpful specifics that will allow the care team to provide the best possible care for your family. 

Make your own plan as unique as you are! If you are funny crack a joke. If you are direct then be direct. If you are so love struck and plan to make-out the entire labor tell the providers. 

This is your chance to be your-self and let your family shine.

If you have any questions about birth plans or would like to submit a great birth plan to share with other parents please be in touch. You can email me at amity@thresholds.info.

Sample Birth Plan.

Please Note: the preferences listed in this sample birth plan are NOT suggestions. Please consult your health care provider on the current research and recommendations.

My husband Max and I are so grateful for everyone that will be helping in the delivery of our first born child, our son Robert McKenzie Woodlawn. Max and I both grew up in Kent, and have recently moved back to be close to our families. This area is our home, and we look forward to welcoming our son at the communities’ hospital, the hospital Max was also born at and that we live so close to.

Our pregnancy has been such a wonderful experience. We have been so fortunate that the past 9 months have been very normal, and without any complications. Throughout that time, we have spent many hours contemplating what’s most important to us before, during, and after delivery.  None of what we request is without extensive thought, research, and prayer. 

With us in the delivery room will be our Doula, Wanda Jones. We have asked our parents and brothers to stay at home until after the baby is born. Then at that time, they can make their way to the hospital to meet their first grandchild and nephew. 

Our labor birth plan is as follows:

  • Due to a breast reduction when I was 18, I want to do everything possible to provide the baby with the best chance of an initial latch.
  • Epidural: My intention is to go without one, but if I need it, I want the lowest dose possible.
  • We understand situations arise resulting in medically necessary caesarian birth, but our utmost goal is for a vaginal birth and would like to exhaust all possible avenues before caesarian is considered.
  • We prefer to have intermittent fetal monitoring every 20 minutes or so with a Doppler rather than being hooked up to a continuous fetal monitor throughout the labor.
  • Delayed cord cutting of at least 3 minutes unless the situation medically requires a different action
  • For communication, both Max and I like to be aware of what is going on while also creating the most stress free environment possible. The best avenue of communication is through calm, straight forward conversations with each of us. Please keep that in mind while communicating progress of the labor.

Our postpartum labor plan is as follows:

  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact for as long as possible, 2 hours is desired
  • No bath for baby while at the hospital
  • Immunizations: Yes to a Vitamin K shot; NO hepatitis b shot; NO Eye cream for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia
  • Insurance covers in-hospital circumcision and we want to have Max circumcised before he leaves the hospital.

We have played this day over and over in our heads throughout our pregnancy, and what is so important to us is that the day is calm, peaceful, and happy.  We are overjoyed to become parents, and again we are so thankful to all of you who are helping make that happen.

Pediatrician name:

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About Amity Kramer

Amity Kramer has been helping families cultivate unconditional love since 2008. She is a Birthing From Within Mentor, Certified Gottman Educator, and founder of Thresholds. Amity leads soulful workshops for families in transition. She also is a practicing birth and postpartum doula which gives her a unique window into the joys and struggles of family life.

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