Birth Plan 101: Everything You Need To Know

by Mar 29, 2019Childbirth, Focused Friday, Pregnancy0 comments

This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.


Have you heard the term “birth plan” and are not quite sure what that is? Maybe you are vaguely aware of what it is but you have no idea how to even create one. What do I put on the birth plan? Is it supposed to be specific or vague?

I had these same questions when I first became pregnant. I had never heard of a birth plan before, and I was completely unsure of how to make one.

In this post you will learn what a birth plan actually is and what to include in your individualized birth plan.

My Experiences With Birth Plans

My Experiences With Birth Plans

I have written 4 birth plans myself for each of my 4 pregnancies. All were pretty similar to one another, but they were tweaked just a bit with each new pregnancy.

When I was first learning about birth plans, I used a template provided by the doctor’s office. However, I have learned from other birth plans that I have seen on Pinterest what really is most important to include.

You want to make sure your birth plan is exactly what YOU want. Only you know what is right for you during your delivery day. So let’s make this birth plan express exactly how you hope your childbirth experience to go.

So, What Is A Birth Plan?

First, let’s have a clear understanding of what a birth plan actually is.

The technical definition is:

“A statement by a mother telling doctors and midwives how she would like her labor to proceed.” 

If I was to explain in my own words, a birth plan is a written or typed document that you can have filled out in preparation for childbirth so that your childbirth team is fully aware of your wants and desires for that day.

Related: Do You Know The 7 P’s For Successful Childbirth


Where Does The Birth Plan Go?

If you are wondering where this birth plan is kept, the simple answer is that it’s kept in your medical records. This is now an official document for your medical chart that your doctor, nurse and other medical team members will have access to the day of your delivery.

Ask your doctor if they want it scanned and emailed to them in advance or if they just want it brought in the day of delivery. Or maybe your doctor’s office has an online child birth plan to fill out.

Basically, it comes down to what your doctor or midwife want.

But this is not something just for you to have and keep for your baby’s scrap book. It’s not something to be private, it’s meant for others to read so they can help you during childbirth.

Make copies so you can keep one for yourself and share with the others supporting you.

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    Why Should You Have A Birth Plan?

    Why should you have a birth plan? Simply because It takes all the guess work out for your delivery team.

    Having a birth plan in place helps you to have complete transparency with your utmost desires when it comes to your childbirth experience.

    A birth plan eliminates the relay of messages from you to your spouse to the nurse and then to the doctor. Instead, the entire team has all the answers right in front of them on your birth plan.

    Your doctors, midwives and anyone else supporting you during your delivery will not have to ask you a bunch of questions while you are in the middle of labor, but instead, they will already know the answers if they take the time to read your birth plan in advance.

    This makes for a more relaxed and peaceful childbirth experience. There’s less room for error when it comes to decision making. Communication is on point and everyone works better together when trying to reach towards the end goal – a successful childbirth!

    When Should You Make A Birth Plan?


    The best answer is right now!!!

    Yep, start right now because there is no reason to wait. If you are pregnant and already thinking about birth plans, then let’s get the show going and start brainstorming ideas.

    For me, I think it’s better to be prepared in advance rather than waiting to the last minute to create a birth plan, which is so important for a successful childbirth experience.

    I have heard so many times about women delivering early, completely unexpectedly and out of nowhere.

    That can really happen to anyone. Let’s have this birth plan fully ready to go, now, so that you can focus on other, more important things come closer to due date time (like getting your body physically prepared for delivery with amazing prenatal workouts!)

    Related: Physical Therapy Recommended: 6 Best Exercises for Labor & Delivery | VIDEO

    I would say the absolute deadline to have your birth plan in place would be by 35-36 weeks because that’s when you want to have a clear vision of how you picture your childbirth experience to go.

    You want adequate time to verbally communicate and relay this information to your delivery team, medical staff and midwife.

    How Long Should My Birth Plan Be?

     There are hundreds of different variation of birth plans, some are short and some are extremely long and detailed. Which one is the best to use?

    I highly recommend having a short, clear and concise one page birth plan.

    The reason why I recommend this is because the nurse staff, midwives and doctors typically have busier schedules, and you want to make sure they have the time to read the birth plan in its entirety the day you go into labor.

    On another note, what if you go into labor prematurely and everything during your childbirth experience is happening so quickly that they don’t have time to read a 6 page birth plan? But they most likely will be able to read a one page birth plan!

    How Do You Make A Birth Plan?


    This leads us to our final question. How do I make a birth plan? In the article “How To Make The Ultimate Birth Plan: Free One Page Template” you will learn exactly how to create the perfect birth plan for your childbirth experience. 

    It’s quite simple to make one, but it’s great to have a reference to follow: a template.

    Having a template as your guide will make sure that you cover the important details and not forget anything.

    You have enough on your plate as it is being pregnant so let’s take one thing off your to-do-list and start getting this birth plan on its way.

    Continue reading about how to make a birth plan and find out exactly what you need to include in your birth plan so that your labor and delivery day can go smoothly.

    Related: “How to be fearless during natural childbirth”

    As always, leave any questions or comments below in the comments section below.

    Just out of curiosity, did your physician or midwife recommend for you to have a birth plan or is this the first time you have ever heard of the term? Comment below with your answer!

    If you want to get the newest childbirth and pregnancy posts straight to your inbox, you can sign-up here to receive my Newsletters and never miss a post. 

     Keep Smiling,

    Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT

    This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

    About Dr. Jena Bradley

    About Dr. Jena Bradley

    Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey.  She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page. 

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    Hi there, friend! I’m Jena, a mom of 4 and a Physical Therapist with a passion to motivate moms! I want to inspire you to be your best self by sharing my experiences and trusted advice on motherhood, health and fitness.

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