Birth plan

What is a birth plan?

A birth plan is a document that you create. It is used to tell your health care provider and hospital staff your wishes for the kind of childbirth you would like. It will also give instructions on how you would like your baby to be cared for after his or her birth.

Your health care provider or the hospital may have a draft birth plan for you to work from, or you can use this sample birth plan. Not everything can be anticipated and some circumstances will likely change, requiring a change in what you may have planned. Your health care providers will try to preserve the essence of the plan but it may be recommended that some things be changed due to your needs or those of your baby.

How do I write my birth plan?

Your birth plan should be short and sweet, not more than a page. You want your team to be able to quickly figure out what your desires are. You will write down what you want to happen and what you would prefer if things do not go as planned. For example, you could state that you would prefer not to have an IV during labour but if a medical reason requires it you would then agree to it.

What topics should I include in my birth plan?

Here is a list of possible topics you might include in your birth plan.

  • Who you would like to be present at the birth
  • Your preferences regarding the insertion of an IV
  • Under what circumstances you would want your membranes ruptured
  • Your thoughts on baby monitoring in labour
  • Your plan for pain relief during labour
  • When and by whom the umbilical cord will be cut
  • Any other issues you feel are really important
  • Fears or concerns you may have
  • How you plan to feed your baby
  • What newborn procedures you would like (Vitamin K, eye drops)