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Making a birth plan

Writing a plan for a great birth experience

Whether you’re a stickler for details or tend to be more laid back in your daily life, planning ahead for the birth of your baby will help you mentally prepare for the big day. You won’t be able to control every aspect of your delivery, but by writing down your wishes and sharing them with your caregivers, you’ll take an active role in having the birth experience you’ve always hoped for.

What it will cover

The document should list your most important desires for the birth, and also state your preferences and the strategies you’ll use to achieve these goals. A quick internet search will turn up numerous birth plan templates that you can personalize, or you can write your own. Topics generally include:

  • Personal information 
  • Early labour 
  • Induction 
  • Delivery room environment 
  • Pain relief 
  • Monitoring 
  • Pushing/Delivery 
  • Cesarean (if applicable) 
  • Newborn procedures 
  • Hospital stay

Things to consider:

  • Use brief, clear language and keep the tone positive 
  • Go over the plan with your doctor or midwife at least a month before your due date to ensure your goals are realistic and that you’re on the same page 
  • Pack several copies of your plan in your hospital bag, and make sure your partner has one too

Most importantly, it’s essential to remember that sometimes even the best laid plans can go awry. You’ll need to be flexible in the event that your birth team has to deviate from the plan to ensure the wellbeing of you and your baby.