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 docs and partners.

By Ginny Graves
Updated: March 19, 2019
Natalia Deriabina/Shutterstock

Labor and delivery, like so many aspects of having kids, rarely go as planned. But giving birth is a big deal — okay, probably the biggest deal of your life, to date — and many mamas-to-be want at least some control over how things go. (Hoping to do this drug-free? Know you want to get the epidural curbside at the hospital? Want to make sure you get that baby in your arms as soon as possible after the birth?)

Of course you understand that all plans and preferences may go completely out the window once things are really under way. But still, thinking about your birth, discussing it with your partner and ob-gyn or midwife, and writing a few things down in advance will ease your anxiety level and help you address your biggest concerns — well before you're in there pushing.

We've highlighted a few of the most common labor and delivery stipulations women have — and we've kept things simple. Use these questions as your birth plan template, writing down your answers then sharing with your support team before the big day.

People

  • Who will attend to you during labor?
  • Who will be the labor coach?
  • Who is allowed to attend the birth, or visit soon afterward?

Environment

  • Do you want to give birth in a birthing center, in a hospital, or at home?
  • What kind of lighting would you prefer?
  • Will someone be taking photos or videotaping?
  • Would you like to hear music playing? What kind?

Upon Arrival

  • Do you have preferences about having your pubic hair shaved?
  • How do you feel about having an enema?
  • Do you have an opinion about receiving a routine IV?

Interventions

  • 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 object to or welcome an episiotomy?
  • Do you have an opinion about vacuum extraction/forceps?
  • Do you have special concerns or preferences about cesarean delivery?
  • Under what circumstances or timing would you consider having any of these?

Labor/Delivery

  • 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?
  • Who will cut the umbilical cord? Will you bank the cord blood?
  • How soon will you and your spouse have contact with baby?
  • How soon will baby's first feeding occur, where will it take place, and who will do it?

Postpartum

  • Will you use a doula, a friend, or a family member for support and assistance?
  • Will baby stay with you or in the nursery?
  • Where will your partner and/or baby's siblings stay after baby is born?
  • Will you nurse or bottlefeed? What kind of support do you wish to have?
  • Will you allow baby to have supplemental feedings of formula or breast milk from a bottle?
  • Can baby have a pacifier?
  • Who will bathe baby? Do you wish to have instruction on how to bathe him?
  • Will you circumcise baby? If so, when? Who will perform the circumcision? 
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