6 Tips & 20 Questions For Your Birth Plan

Posted on Jul 1, 2014

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Do you have a birth plan?  Are you hoping for a natural birth?


I’ve compiled two lists for you; you’ll want to consider these before you complete your unique birth plan.


6 Important Tips

20 Questions


At the bottom of this post, you’ll find a little bonus you won’t want to miss ~ an attachment to a rough draft of one of my own birth plans you can use as a template. It is suggested that you keep your birth plan to 1 or 2 pages, printed, front and back.


Labor and delivery can be a scary time for parents, especially first-time parents. Many times planning can take some of the fear of the unknown out of the equation. A written birth plan can act as a helpful document in allowing the birth to follow a process comfortable to you, and leaving your birth team honored to be a part of your baby’s once in a lifetime event!


It’s important that parents make a realistic birth plan, viewing the birth place staff as part of your birth team.  You want to work with this team successfully for the safest and most positive experience possible. This will contribute to the well-being of you the parents as well as your unborn baby.


For those who’ve diligently prepared for a natural, non-invasive childbirth it is especially important to have a clear concise plan that communicates to your birth team what your wishes are. These plans assume labor proceeds without complication. However, if something out of the ordinary does occur, you’ll be aware of how you want to deal with them.


Tip #1


First, take the time to carefully consider your options or choices, and make a list of those choices.


Tip #2


List your choices in order of importance. Don’t forget to add any special requests (i.e. keep lights low during labor).


Tip #3


Consider if your choices are realistic for your circumstances; verify the majority of your preferences will be supported by your birth team.  For instance, in a hospital setting they may allow laboring in the tub, just not delivering in the tub.  If adjustments or compromises are requested, you’ll need to be prepared with options regarding normal labor and delivery that you feel comfortable with.


Tip #4


Communicate your choices in a positive way to your doctor or midwife ahead of time, presenting them with a copy of your birth plan. You’ll be best served by phrasing your choices and desires in a polite way, rather than as a list of inflexible demands, actually increasing your chances of having your birth plan honored.


Tip #5


Finally, keep in mind that the health and safety of Mom and baby come first. If an emergency does occur then critical decisions need to be made quickly; you want the full cooperation of your health team rather than alienating them. Be prepared in advance with preferences in handling possible complications. 


For instance, what if you are told monitoring indicates the baby is in distress?  It may be true distress or a false reading or interpretation.  Your preference can be communicated to try immediately changing positions; maybe the umbilical cord is compressed and changing positions will relieve that pressure so that the fetal distress is eliminated.  Assure your team that should this not alleviate the problem you understand that medical intervention may be necessary.


Tip #6


You may want to distribute a few copies of your birth plan to the staff assigned to you along with a simple gift bag, it may encourage them to take the extra time to closely review your wishes.  What tired Labor and Delivery Nurse wouldn’t enjoy some cookies and some yummy coffee to brew, right?


20 Questions


In making your list, as mentioned in Tip #1, ask yourself these 20 questions:


  1. Where do I want my baby to be born?  (i.e. at Home; a Birthing Center; a Hospital)
  2. How long do I want to labor at home, and when do I want to arrive at my birth facility?
  3. Do I plan to have a birth coach and/or Doula, and do I want them to accompany me?
  4. How do I want to be monitored during labor?
  5. How do I want to labor? (i.e. walk; use a pool; use a birthing stool, use a birthing ball)
  6. How do I plan to manage pain? (i.e. massage, accu-pressure; breathing techniques; music; epidural)
  7. what positions do I want to utilize during labor?
  8. In what position do I want to deliver?
  9. Do I want my bag of waters broken artificially?
  10. Do I want an episiotomy? * {see footnote}
  11. What coaching prompts do I want, and from whom?
  12. Who do I want to cut the cord?
  13. Do I want to bank the baby’s cord blood?
  14. Do I want to the baby wiped and swaddled immediately?
  15. Who do I want to hold the baby first?
  16. Will I nurse the baby right away?
  17. Will the baby stay with me in my recovery room?  + {see footnote}
  18. What newborn screening tests do I want and when?
  19. Will my baby get its first bath at the birthing facility or at home?
  20. How soon would I like to return home? >  {see footnote}



*   As of the date of this writing, episiotomies are not considered standard in most areas.

+  As of the date of this writing, the vast majority of hospitals intend for the baby to stay in Mom’s room rather than the nursery.

>  Hospitals may allow you to go home within 24 hours rather than 48 at the approval of your doctor or midwife.  Birthing Centers may allow you to go home approximately 6 hours after delivery if there are no complications.


As you can see, everyone’s birth plan is as unique as each individual, reflecting their personalities and preferences.  Happy planning!


6 Tips & 20 Questions For Your Birth Plan


Click in the box below to sign-up for free as a new subscriber, and get direct access to a FREE Birth Plan template to download and print!



For more information, you may want to consider the book Birth Plans For Dummies it’s a pretty informative book.





Do you know someone who is pregnant? Read my list of 6 tips and 20 questions to consider before completing a unique birth plan. And get a FREE Template.



P.S. Do You Have Any Birth Plan Tips Not Listed Here?


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