What is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a document that you and your partner work on together to help inform your care providers about your preferences for labor, birth, and postpartum. This is especially useful for a hospital birth when you will likely encounter care providers that you’ve never met before.

When I was planning for my homebirths, I had a comprehensive birth plan that covered every single aspect of labor, birth, afterbirth care and feeding of the baby and then I had a shorter version that was intended for use only if I was transferred to the hospital.

For hospital births I recommend a short and easy to read (think bullet points) birth plan because the staff is likely dealing with several patients at once won’t be able to take the time to read a bunch of paragraphs. You can download that an easy checklist at the bottom of this post.

Topics to cover in your birth plan

Labor – positions, pain management, environment, any drugs you do not want to have offered, episiotomy, c section preferences.

After the Birth – how to handle baby’s care, preferences if hemorrhage occurs, what to do with the placenta, feeding of baby, cutting the cord.

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