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Writing a Birth Plan.

Writing a Birth Plan.

Writing a Birth Plan.

By Christa Tyson, E-RYT, E-RPYT, Doula, CLC, CCE

As a mother of two, prenatal yoga instructor and educated birth doula, I know the significance of education during pregnancy to prepare for the best possible birth experience.  I was able to birth both my children naturally with the help of prenatal yoga, educating myself and developing a birth plan.  It is important to be involved in the decision making process of childbirth.  When the time comes to make a quick decision you already know your preferences.  The last thing you will be able to do during labor (or want to do) is think with a clear head!  Developing a birth plan is a great way to get everyone (your partner, doctor or midwife, nurse etc) on the same page.  A healthy mom and baby is priority for everyone.  Below is a list of things to think about ahead of time.  Discuss these with your doctor or midwife during prenatal visits and develop your birth plan as a team.  Bring a copy of your birth plan with you to the hospital to “refresh” everyone on staff regarding your preferences.  Good luck and have a blissful birth!

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to make a difficult decision during labor remember to ask: (tell your husband to keep these questions in his back pocket)

  1. How will this situation affect the Baby?
  2. How will this situation affect Me?
  3. How will this situation affect the progress of the labor?
    1. For example some pain meds can slow down labor
  4. What are the other options?
  5. Is it ok to wait 10 minutes and think about this or do we need to decide right away?

Developing a birth plan is not easy.  Try to keep it to one page! There are many things to consider.  Here are just a few of the more common topics found in birth plans.

  • Vaginal Exams: would you prefer to know where you are in the progress of labor or do you prefer to be examined at a minimum?
  • Do you prefer no student interns in the room or are you ok with interns observing your labor and childbirth?
  • Are you looking to have a natural childbirth free of pain meds or would you like to be offered pain meds?  Research pain meds before labor.  Ask the above 5 questions.
  • Would you like to be offered alternative pain management techniques: positioning options, pressure and massage, heat and cold compresses, visualizations, etc. If so, look into hiring a Doula or you can practice with your partner/husband before labor begins.
  • What are your thoughts about induction or augmentation? Ask the above 5 questions.
  • Do you prefer to tear naturally or have an episiotomy?  You could also request a warm compress on the perineum or alternative birthing positions to avoid tearing or the need for an episiotomy.
  • Would you like to push when you feel the urge or would you prefer your care provider guide you when to push?
  • Would you like to baby to be cleaned directly after birth or would you prefer the baby be placed in your arms?
  • You can delay newborn exams, vitamin K and eye ointment for up to an hour after birth.  This is recommended when mothers prefer to set up a breastfeeding bond as soon as possible.
  • Who would you like to cut the cord?  Would you like the cord to stop pulsating before it is clamped or would you like the cord to be clamped immediately?
  • Who will announce the sex of the baby?
  • Do you want pictures or video of the birth?
  • What are your thoughts about Hep B vaccine at birth?

For a list of more birth plan options all you need to do is Google “birth plan” and look at the many templates available online.  GOOD LUCK!!!


Christa Tyson


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  1. One of the best pieces of advice we got about developing our birth plan was to keep it positive. No one wants to read a whole list of “don’ts” and it sets everything up in a negative light. Instead suffuse your birth plan with positives, such as “we look forward to a natural birth experience and prefer to request medications rather than having them offered” or “I respect the fact that my body will send signals to let me know when to push, and would like to push according to these urges (mother directed pushing). I also respect the experience of my labor attendants and will ask for coaching if it becomes necessary.”

    I’ve also seen people label them “Birth Wishes” and “Birth Preferences” versus a plan (since plans can go out the window quickly in labor!)

    • Thanks Amber,
      I love the the title Birth Wishes and Birth Preferences.

  2. I wish you and your family all the best! thank you for this amiznag video! I am pregnant and will give birth at home, if all is ok, in february; I hope that all will be ok just as for you!! (sorry for the english )

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