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Birth Plan
Make Informed Choices

Too many women are laying back and letting others dictate what happens at their babies' births.

Don't be another 'laid back' statistic.

Plan the birth you want and have the birth you planned!

As early as possible during your pregnancy, you need to draw up a written birth plan and go through all the details of it with both your partner and doula as you may need their help in achieving your birth wishes.

You should have researched all the options, understand the terminology, know the risks and benefits of the various choices and be equipped to make informed decisions based on your research.

Find a Caregiver

Having drawn up your birth plan, the next step is to find a caregiver who shares your vision of what a good birth experience should be or who will support your wishes. If you already have a caregiver, discuss your wishes with him / her as early as possible and discuss any changes / compromises that may be required. If necessary, you may need to find a more suitable caregiver.

If you choose a caregiver, before you draw up your birth plan, you may find out late in your pregnancy that there is a clash of interests and you certainly don't need conflict in the delivery room. In fact, you probably won't even feel like asserting your wishes by then, so choose wisely from the start.

Birth Plan Quote

You are constructing your own reality with the choices you make...or don't make. If you really want a healthy pregnancy and joyful birth, and you truly understand that you are the one in control, then you must examine what you have or haven't done so far to create the outcome you want.

Kim Wildner

If you don't have a birthing plan, you may find that others dictate the procedure during your labor and birth and afterwards, you may feel that you were unempowered and your wishes were violated.

Some women have had such bad experiences that they have described what happened as 'birth rape'.

Make sure to avoid that scenario by planning and having a contingency plan in place too, to accommodate any changes to the original plan!

Visit the Birth Venue

Unless you are planning a homebirth, you should also research your baby's birthplace. Find out their policies and ask whether your birth wishes can be accommodated. Be respectful in your attitude and your use of language. Every institution has their way of doing things and some staff feel challenged by clients who want things done differently and may even become hostile. Have your caregiver sign your birth plan before you are admitted.

Finally, remember that a birth plan is only that - a plan of your wishes. Plans may need to change, and you need to be prepared for that scenario too. A change of plan is not a failure - it is just a change of plan!

If I don't know my options, I don't have any. - Diana Korte

What does a Birth Plan Include?

Click here for a free printable birth plan.

healthcare worker

Your plan should indicate the following:

  • Who your caregivers will be: doctor / midwife / other
  • Place of birth: hospital / birthing center / home / other
  • Who will be present at the birth for support: partner / doula / other family members / children
  • Who will be present in the first hour after birth
  • Cultural or religious preferences
  • Environmental preferences: lighting, music, candles, closed door
  • Planned birth option: vaginal birth, waterbirth, elective caesarean
  • Pain relief choices, if any: natural pain relief / preferred medical interventions
  • Labor preferences:
  • Own clothes
  • Frequency of monitoring
  • Food and fluids during labor
  • Freedom to choose position and activity during labour: walking, sitting, squatting etc.
  • Artificial rupture of membranes
  • Induction
  • Access to water for pain relief: bath / shower
  • Episiotomy
  • Preferred birthing positions: upright, squatting, kneeling etc.
  • Procedure for cutting the umbilical cord
  • Stem cell harvesting decision
  • Disposal of placenta preference
  • Feeding choice: breastfeeding or other
  • Special requests / preferences regarding baby, assuming there are no complications:


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