10 Things to Consider When Writing a Birth Plan

A birth plan is a document that lists your preferences for the birth of your baby. You should write your birth plan early in your pregnancy. You'll need time to discuss it with your doctor. You’ll also need time to tour birthing centers and hospitals around you.

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Here are some questions you should ask yourself, putting the answers into your birth plan:

1. Who do you want in the labor room? The delivery room?
2. Do you want pain medicine? If so, what kind? Is there any medication you want to avoid?
3. Are there any activities you would like for pain relief? Some examples: shower, whirlpool, massage, breathing exercises, relaxation music?
4. Do you want a water birth?
5. Do you want to be mobile during labor? Do you want to be able to walk around? Did you want to stay in bed?
6. Are there certain positions you want for the birth?
7. Do you want to record the birth on video?
8. Do you want a guest to stay overnight with you, if needed?
9. Do you want your baby continuous monitored?
10. What activities do you want to occur after the birth? Did you want to breast feed? Do you want the baby to stay with you?

How you answer the above questions can help you determine where to have your baby. If you find you prefer a natural birth experience, you should look into stand-alone birthing centers. They offer a home-like environment with medical backup if needed. However, you must meet some basic requirements to give birth at a birth center, so make sure you discuss your plan with your doctor. If your plan places emphasis on pain medication, you should consider birth at a hospital birthing center.

Learn more about birthing centers:

Birthing center staff
Home-like amenities provided by birthing centers
How to select the best birthing center
Tips for touring a hospital birthing center
Tips for touring a stand alone birthing center
What is a birthing center?