What’s a birth plan...and, do you need one? The short answer is: YES. We’ll take you through all the details of why you need a birth plan and how to write a birth plan tailored to your needs.  

What Is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is just what it sounds like—a plan for the birth of your baby. It’s a document that includes details regarding labor, childbirth, postpartum care, and newborn care. It can include details like whether or not you want an epidural, who you want in the room during labor, and who is going to cut the baby’s umbilical cord.

There are so many decisions to be made when it comes to labor, delivery, childbirth, postpartum care, and newborn care. In the heat of the moment, it can be difficult to decide between two options which is why it’s important to make these decisions and share them with your healthcare providers ahead of time. That way, your nurses and doctor know how you would like the birth to go.

Remember…even if you make a birth plan, it’s just a plan! It’s not a contract. The most important thing is that you and your baby come out of labor healthy—not that your birth plan is followed to the letter. This is where it’s important to trust your care providers and know that they’ll balance your birth plan with the needs that arise during labor and everything that comes afterward…

Do I Need A Birth Plan?

You don’t need a birth plan, but you’ll definitely want one if you’re trying to make sure your decisions and wishes are laid out clearly. A birth plan makes things easier both on you and your significant other and the hospital staff. Why wouldn’t you have one?

How to Make a Birth Plan

There are tons of sample birth plans online including this one from TheBump or this checklist from What to Expect.

It’s important to include details like whether you want to stand up or lay down during labor, if you want pain medication and if you want skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth. We recommend checking out birth plan samples like the ones linked above to make sure you’re covering all your bases.

Once you write your birth plan, you’ll want to share a copy with your doctor and review it during a prenatal appointment. It’s good to make sure they’re on board with your requests. They may tell you there are some things they can’t do because of hospital or safety guidelines—which is important to know ahead of time!

When sharing your birth plan with your doctor, trust that they will do their best to make the birth go the way you want it but the ultimate goal is a healthy mama and baby and they’re going to do whatever it takes to get there—even if that means doing something against your plan.

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.