A Simple Birth Plan Template for First-Time Parents

Your delivery day is subject to last-minute change, but it's still good to feel prepared. Use this sample birth plan broken down into six straight-forward sections to guide conversations with your doctors and partners.

pregnant woman with notebook
Photo: Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock

Like many aspects of having kids, labor and delivery rarely go as planned. But giving birth is a big deal; many parents-to-be want at least some control over how things go. And with so many considerations to make, from choosing who will be present during the birth to whether or not you want an epidural to ease labor pains, a birth plan can help set expectations and clear the way toward a smooth experience.

Sure, your plans may take a detour along the way, but by plotting down how you envision your labor and delivery, you can make big decisions that will help your support team ensure that you and your baby are safe and comfortable.

Not sure what you want on your birth plan yet? Don't worry; we've got you covered. Read on below for a comprehensive list of questions to help you think about what you want—and don't want—to happen during your labor and delivery. Then take your answers and begin creating your birth plan!


Choosing who will attend your child's birth can significantly affect your comfort level during labor and delivery. Have you always envisioned your mom by your side? Or perhaps your partner or best friend? Ask yourself these essential questions about who will attend to help you feel supported.

  • Who will attend to you during labor?
  • Who will be the labor coach?
  • Who is allowed to attend the birth or visit soon afterward?
  • If giving birth in a learning hospital, do you want student doctors present?


Your environment during labor and delivery can help you set a specific mood. Do you feel comforted by the sights and sounds of a hospital setting, or do you want something more personalized with music, dimmed lights, and your clothes? You can make your wishes known in your birth plan and then talk to your provider to see how close to your wishes you can get.

  • Do you want to deliver your baby to a birthing center, hospital, or home?
  • What kind of lighting would you prefer—candle, natural, dim, or other?
  • Will someone be taking photos or recording videos? Talk to your provider about any policies and if a hired photographer can be present.
  • Would you like to hear music playing? What kind?
  • Would you like the option to wear your clothes?


Feeling stumped about how to answer some of these questions? Talking to your partner, OB/GYN, or midwife can help ease anxiety and guide you to preferences that make the most sense for you and your family.

Upon Arrival

  • Do you have preferences about having your pubic hair shaved? Many hospitals have stopped shaving before delivery, but it may be worth asking about.
  • How do you feel about having an enema? As with shaving, enemas are no longer routine. However, you may want to ask if that is an expectation.
  • Do you have an opinion about receiving a routine IV?
  • If you have a cesarean section, can you watch the birth through a mirror?
  • Do you want access to food and drink during labor? This will likely depend on many factors, including if you have an epidural, cesarean section, or require other interventions. Talk to your provider to learn about policies.


The idea of an intervention may sound scary, but the more you know about what could happen during labor, and delivery will help you make the best decisions for you and your baby. Talk to your provider about any concerns.

  • Do you want fetal monitoring?
  • How do you feel about maternal monitoring (internal exams, external exams)?
  • How do you feel about induced labor or artificial rupture of your membranes?
  • Do you object to or welcome an episiotomy?
  • Do you have an opinion about vacuum extraction/forceps?
  • Do you have particular concerns or preferences about cesarean delivery?
  • Under what circumstances or timing would you consider having any of these?

Labor & Delivery

You've been waiting months for this, but do you know exactly what to expect? Be sure to talk to your partner, birth coach, and providers to make sure you understand how your labor and delivery will likely go and what will happen if the plan abruptly changes.

  • Would you prefer medical or natural methods of pain relief?
  • Will you move around during labor? How much?
  • Would you like to shower or bathe during labor?
  • What type and how much food and drink do you want while laboring?
  • How long are you allowed to wait before cutting the umbilical cord?
  • Who will cut the umbilical cord? Will you bank the cord blood?
  • How soon will you and your spouse have contact with the baby, and for how long?
  • How soon will the baby's first feeding occur, where will it occur, and who will do it?


Consider setting up a meal kit delivery service for the first few weeks postpartum. If you have friends and family excited to pitch in and help, ask them to create a meal train for the first few days at home with your baby. This can save precious time while healing and bonding with your new little one.


When you think about a birth plan, you might focus much of your attention on the before part of delivery, but the after part is equally important. To make sure you feel comfortable, consider these questions.

  • Will you use a doula, a friend, or a family member for support and assistance?
  • Will the baby stay with you or in the nursery?
  • Where will your partner and your new baby's siblings stay after birth?
  • Will you nurse or bottle feed? What kind of support do you wish to have?
  • Will you allow the baby to have supplemental feedings of formula or breast milk from a bottle?
  • Can the baby have a pacifier?
  • Who will bathe the baby? Do you wish to have instructions on how to bathe them?
  • Will you circumcise the baby? If so, when? Who will perform the circumcision?
  • If your newborn goes to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), when can you see them, and for how long? What are the NICU policies?


If you plan to give birth in a birthing center or hospital, you will eventually have to have a plan for getting home. Here are a few practical questions to consider.

  • Do you have a car seat, and is it installed?
  • Do you have someone to drive you home?
  • Do you need to pre-plan the first few family meals once you're home?
  • If you have pets, do you need a plan for pet-proofing your baby's space?
  • Do you need someone to stay at home with you while you settle in?
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