Free Birth Plan Template

Use our Birth Plan template to design your ideal birthing situation. You can choose how you’d like to have labor and how you’d like your baby to be delivered.

A birth plan is a document that outlines your preferences regarding labor and delivery. An expectant mother usually writes a birth plan, but anyone involved in a birthing situation may create a birth plan.

Table of Contents

What Is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a document that outlines a person's preferences and wishes for the childbirth experience. It serves as a communication tool between expectant parents and their healthcare providers, helping them discuss and understand the individual's desires, concerns, and choices related to labor and delivery. A birth plan can cover a wide range of topics, including:

  1. Labor Environment: Preferences for the labor and delivery room's ambiance, such as lighting, music, and aromatherapy.
  1. Pain Management: Choices regarding pain relief options during labor, such as epidurals, natural pain management techniques, or medication.
  1. Labor Positions: Preferences for different labor positions, movements, or the use of birthing tools like a birthing ball or squat bar.
  1. Interventions: Preferences regarding medical interventions, including induction, episiotomies, and fetal monitoring.
  1. Support Team: Designation of who will be present during labor, such as a partner, doula, or family member.
  1. Delivery Preferences: Choices for the delivery itself, such as the use of forceps or vacuum extraction, delayed cord clamping, and immediate skin-to-skin contact with the baby.
  1. Postpartum Preferences: Wishes for postpartum care, including rooming-in with the baby, breastfeeding, and circumcision decisions.
  1. Emergency Scenarios: Instructions for unexpected situations or complications, like cesarean sections or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) care.

Why birth plan is needed?

A birth plan is a valuable tool for expectant parents because it serves several essential purposes:

1. Communication: A birth plan allows you to communicate your preferences, desires, and expectations to your healthcare team. It provides a clear and organized way to express your choices regarding labor, delivery, and postpartum care.

2. Empowerment: Creating a birth plan empowers you to be an active participant in your childbirth experience. It encourages you to research your options, make informed decisions, and advocate for your preferences.

3. Clarity: A birth plan ensures that your healthcare providers have a clear understanding of your wishes. This can help reduce misunderstandings during labor and delivery, making the process smoother and less stressful.

4. Preparedness: Preparing a birth plan encourages you to think about different scenarios and possibilities that may arise during labor and delivery. It prompts you to consider your preferences for pain relief, interventions, and emergency situations.

5. Shared Decision-Making: A birth plan fosters collaboration between you and your healthcare team. It encourages open discussions about your choices and allows your healthcare provider to offer guidance and expertise while respecting your preferences.

6. Comfort: Knowing that your healthcare providers are aware of your birth plan can provide you with a sense of comfort and control during labor. It helps create a more supportive and positive birthing environment.

7. Respect for Your Values: A birth plan helps ensure that your values, cultural preferences, and beliefs are taken into account during childbirth. It allows you to tailor your experience to align with your family's values and traditions.

8. Reduced Anxiety: By outlining your preferences and expectations, a birth plan can help reduce anxiety and uncertainty about labor and delivery. It provides a sense of structure and predictability during a potentially unpredictable process.

9. Focus on Your Birth Experience: With a birth plan in place, you and your healthcare team can focus on providing you with the birth experience you desire. This can enhance your overall satisfaction with the childbirth process.

How To Write a Birth Plan

Creating a detailed birth plan involves careful consideration of your preferences for labor, delivery, and postpartum care. Here's a step-by-step guide with sub-points to help you write a comprehensive birth plan:

Step 1: Start Early and Research

  • Begin working on your birth plan well in advance of your due date.
  • Research the options available for labor and delivery, including pain relief methods, birthing positions, and hospital policies.

Step 2: Choose a Template or Create a Custom Format

  • Decide whether you want to use a pre-made birth plan template or create your document.
  • Ensure the format is clear and easy to follow with headings or bullet points.

Step 3: Personal Information

  • Start your birth plan by including your details, such as your name, due date, and any relevant medical information, like allergies or medical conditions.

Step 4: Labor Preferences

  • Specify your labor environment preferences:
    • Lighting: Do you prefer dimmed lights or natural light?
    • Music: Would you like to play calming music during labor?
    • Ambiance: Any specific requests for room temperature or aromatherapy?
  • Detail your pain management choices:
    • Natural Techniques: Mention if you plan to use techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, or hydrotherapy.
    • Medication: Indicate your openness or preferences for pain medications.
    • Epidural: Specify if you're considering an epidural for pain relief.
  • Discuss your desired labor positions and mobility during labor:
    • Include whether you want the freedom to move around, use a birthing ball, or try different positions during labor.

Step 5: Interventions and Procedures

  • Address your preferences regarding medical interventions:
    • Induction: Under what circumstances would you be comfortable with induction?
    • Episiotomy: State your stance on episiotomies.
    • Continuous Fetal Monitoring: Mention if you're open to intermittent monitoring.
  • Clarify your preferences for routine procedures:
    • Breaking Waters: Specify whether you'd like your water to break naturally or with medical assistance.
    • Routine Checks: Discuss any routine procedures and your preferences for them.

Step 6: Postpartum Preferences

  • Indicate your wishes for immediate postpartum care:
    • Skin-to-Skin Contact: Mention if you want immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby.
    • Breastfeeding: Share your breastfeeding plans and whether you'd like support from a lactation consultant.
  • State whether you prefer your baby to room in with you or spend time in the nursery.

Step 7: Prepare for Unexpected Scenarios

  • Outline your preferences for emergencies:
    • Cesarean Section: Indicate your preferences for a C-section if it becomes necessary.
    • Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU): Share your desires for your baby's care if NICU admission is required.
  • Designate a decision-maker: Choose someone to make decisions on your behalf in case you're unable to do so.

A birth plan should be concise and focused on your most important preferences. Discuss it thoroughly with your healthcare provider during prenatal visits. Keep in mind that birth can be unpredictable, so stay open to adjustments based on your health, safety, and your baby's well-being during labor and delivery. Your birth plan serves as a valuable communication tool to ensure your healthcare team understands your wishes and can work with you to provide the best possible birth experience.

Tips for Writing a Birth Plan

Writing a birth plan is a personal and important process that allows you to communicate your preferences to your healthcare team. Here are some tips to help you create an effective birth plan:

1. Start Early: Begin working on your birth plan well in advance of your due date to ensure you have enough time to research, make decisions, and discuss your plan with your healthcare provider.

2. Do Your Research: Take the time to educate yourself about the labor and delivery process, different birthing options, and pain relief methods. This knowledge will help you make informed choices.

3. Use a Template: Many websites and childbirth education classes offer birth plan templates that can make the process easier. These templates often include sections for various aspects of labor and delivery.

4. Keep It Clear and Concise: Your birth plan should be easy to read and understand. Use clear language and bullet points or headings to organize your preferences.

5. Prioritize Your Preferences: Highlight the most important aspects of your birth plan. Focus on the choices that matter most to you and your partner. It's essential to be flexible about less critical preferences.

6. Be Realistic: While it's important to express your ideal birth experience, it's also essential to acknowledge that labor and delivery can be unpredictable. Be prepared for the possibility of changes to your plan due to medical needs.

7. Communicate with Your Healthcare Provider: Schedule a prenatal appointment to discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider. They can provide valuable insights, answer questions, and ensure your plan aligns with your medical history and the hospital's policies.

8. Include Emergency Scenarios: While it's great to focus on your ideal birth, also include preferences for emergency situations like cesarean sections or other medical interventions. This helps your healthcare team understand your wishes in various circumstances.

9. Involve Your Birth Partner: If you have a birth partner, involve them in the process. Discuss your preferences together and make sure your partner understands your choices and can advocate for you during labor.

10. Keep Multiple Copies: Bring several printed copies of your birth plan to the hospital or birthing center. Give copies to your healthcare team, nurses, and anyone else involved in your care.

11. Stay Flexible: Remember that the primary goal of your birth plan is a safe and healthy delivery for both you and your baby. Be prepared to adapt and make decisions based on the medical situation.

12. Stay Positive: Focus on your birth plan as a tool to help you achieve the best possible birth experience. A positive and collaborative approach with your healthcare team can lead to smoother labor and delivery.

13. Review and Revise: As your pregnancy progresses and you learn more, feel free to revise your birth plan. It's not set in stone, and you can make updates to better reflect your evolving preferences.

By following these tips and maintaining open communication with your healthcare provider, you can create a birth plan that supports your desires while also prioritizing your health and the well-being of your baby.


What is a birth plan, and why should I create one?

A birth plan is a written document outlining your preferences and wishes for labor, delivery, and postpartum care. It's a helpful tool for communicating your desires to your healthcare team and ensuring your birth experience aligns with your values and preferences.

When should I start working on my birth plan?

You can begin creating your birth plan at any point during your pregnancy. It's a good idea to start thinking about your preferences early on and discuss them with your healthcare provider to ensure they are feasible and safe.

What should I include in my birth plan?

A birth plan can include a wide range of preferences, such as pain management options, labor positions, who will be present during labor, and postpartum care choices. You can also specify your preferences for interventions like fetal monitoring and episiotomy.

Do healthcare providers always follow a birth plan?

While healthcare providers strive to accommodate your preferences, the priority is a safe and healthy delivery for both you and your baby. Sometimes, medical circumstances may necessitate adjustments to your plan. Good communication with your healthcare team is essential.

Should I share my birth plan with my healthcare provider?

Yes, it's highly recommended to discuss your birth plan with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance, clarify any concerns, and ensure that your preferences are safe and feasible given your specific medical circumstances.

What if my birth doesn't go according to my plan?

It's important to remain flexible. Birth can be unpredictable, and medical situations may require deviations from your plan. Trust your healthcare team's expertise and focus on the overall health and well-being of you and your baby.

Are birth plans only for natural childbirth?

No, birth plans are for all types of childbirth, whether you plan for a natural birth, epidural, C-section, or any other method. Your birth plan should reflect your individual preferences and choices, regardless of the type of birth you anticipate.

Sample Birth Plan

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