Your Birth Plan: An Easy Simple Guide

Belly monitoring during labor

Should I even write a birth plan?

Some families fear birth plans can jinx all your hopes and dreams. If you write a birth plan you are dooming yourself for everything to go exactly the opposite as your want. You fear that the doctor will roll their eyes at your wishful naïve thinking, or that the nurses will sit out at the charge station laughing and making fun of your birth wishes.

Truth is, writing a birth plan is a lot more for you and your birth partner. You should look at the writing process as a way to organize your thoughts and options available to you! It is an excellent opportunity for you to sit down with your partner and go over everything to make sure you are on the same page. It’s a time to learn and to know what your birthing facility can provide.

How to write a plan your providers will appreciate:

Now with all those things said, you definitely should NOT be writing a 4 page birth plan for your healthcare providers. What you actually should be striving for is for everything to fit on one page. Yes, the best chance for your birth plan to be carefully looked at by your provider and attending nurse is one simple organized page. Actually, we really encourage you to make it half a page! Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity is key.

You can use the Birth Options and Preferences to get yourself started with many birth options that may be available to you. This is not the birth plan. It’s simply a checklist that you go over with your birth partner and then with your Doula (if you hired one). If you are not sure what something is or if it is a possible option at your birthing facility take it to your next prenatal appointment to discuss it with your health-care provider.

After using the Birth Options and Preferences sheet I want you to pick the 5 most important items on that list that can be achieved by your medical team. Example: “I want calming music and dim lighting during the course of my labor.” is nice and all but something your medical team is NOT going to do for you and is wasting space on your paper. This is good for your birth partner and doula to understand and know but not your nurse because though she does care a lot about you, she does not have time to be your doula. It is not a medical request. “I request that we use intermittent monitoring during labor” is a medical request that your doctor/midwife should be aware of and in your plan. Our template has some examples on things you may consider and preferences you might have when delivering at your hospital or birth center. Remember, you do NOT have to have 5 things on each section. You can have just 5 things in total in your birth plan.

Our hope is that our birth plan template is a simple guide for your family to use. There are many birth plans, and we’ve seen and help develop all different formats and preferences with our clients. Birth plans are for YOU first and are unique to your family’s needs. Mainstreaming and organizing is something important to us so our clients do not feel overwhelmed and fatigued by the birthing process. Enjoy!