Planning For Delivery

Planning for the big day can be kind of overwhelming—if not downright scary—for most first-time moms (and for second- and third-time moms, to be honest). Some moms like to write out a birth plan to help them feel more in control of the upcoming labor and delivery, but others prefer to roll with the punches.

Do I need a birth plan?

Realistically, no, you don’t need a birth plan. Your little one will make his or her own plan! But it can be helpful to write down your preferences beforehand and share these with your doctor, just to get an idea of what will be doable and realistic once you’re in the delivery room. Then, it’s okay to take the birth plan with you to the hospital, although it’s just as okay to make decisions in the moment.

How to write a birth plan

If you do decide to write down your birth plan, make sure you do your homework first and research all of the available options at your birthing center. Try to keep things simple, and only write down those preferences that are most important to you—you don’t want your strong views on pain meds to be lost in pages of opinions on aromatherapy or music.

What to include in a birth plan

Here are some things you might include when crafting your birth plan: 

  • Who you want in the room (including whether it’s okay for nursing students and residents to observe) 
  • Pain management preferences 
  • Your feelings on medical interventions, like labor induction, forceps, episiotomy, or C-section (just keep in mind that you may not have a choice in an emergency) 
  • Labor preferences, like if you would prefer to stand, walk, sit in a tub, etc. 

Remember: Safety first

Keep in mind that your birth plan isn’t set in stone, and it isn’t a guarantee that your doctors and nurses will follow everything to the letter. Their first priority is delivering a healthy baby and keeping you safe. 

Want to learn more about child labor and delivery? Download our maternity guide.