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Making a Birth Plan

What is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a list of the decisions or wishes of an expectant mother in regards to her labor and delivery.

Why is Having a Birth Plan Important?

Having a birth plan and submitting it to your doctor will ensure that he or she is aware of what you want, and do not want, in regards to labor and delivery. Your doctor is then able to go over his or her concerns with you about your birth plan. Your final birth plan will be put on file and referenced when you go into labor.

Many expectant parents will have an extra copy of their birth plan written up and on hand when they arrive at the hospital or birthing center.

Birth plans should be looked at in a flexible perspective. Labor and delivery can be unpredictable and there is no guarantee that your birth plan will be followed to the letter.

What Things Should Be Listed on My Birth Plan?

Birth plans are individual. No two birth plans will be the same. Things you may want to mention in your birth plan:

  • How long you wish to labor at home before going to the hospital or birthing center.
  • Whether you wish to be allowed to walk during labor.
  • Whether you would like to see your delivery through a mirror.
  • Whether an IV will be used.
  • Whether you will have an enema.
  • The use and degree of pain medication which will be administered.
  • What position you prefer for delivery.
  • Whether forceps or a vacuum extractor will be used.
  • Who will be allowed in the labor and delivery rooms.
  • Whether you want cord blood banking.
  • Your wishes in regards to being shaved.

You can also add things to your birth plan that are of concern to you after you have given birth. These may include whether you want to do all of the feedings yourself, or if you will permit nurses to feed your baby. You may also add things in regards to circumcision, whether you want your baby to room in with you, and if older children are allowed to be in your room.

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