birth plan checklist

What Is a Birth Plan Checklist and How Do I Create One?

Imagine navigating a ship through the vast sea of childbirth; your birth plan checklist is your compass, guiding you through the waves of decisions and preferences. It’s your tailored roadmap, outlining the route you’d like to take during labor and delivery.

You’re not just a passenger on this journey; you’re the captain, and a birth plan ensures your crew understands your wishes. It’s a conversation starter with your healthcare providers, a way to discuss and decide on what matters most to you.

By taking the helm with a birth plan, you’re not only advocating for your experience but also your birth partner, creating a sense of security and preparedness as you approach the shore of parenthood. It’s a step towards a more satisfying and respectful birth experience, as you serve the beautiful purpose of bringing life into the world.

Key takeaways

  • A birth plan is a tool to educate and organize options and preferences before delivery.

  • Including your partner and birth support team in the planning process is important for advocating for your preferences and making informed decisions.

  • Non-medical information, such as transportation arrangements and meal planning, should be included in a birth plan.

  • Birth plans are important tools for communication, managing expectations, and creating a sense of empowerment and control during labor and delivery.

What is a birth plan checklist?

A birth plan is your personalized guide outlining your preferences for the delivery of your baby, covering all aspects from labor to postpartum care. It’s like your voice in the room when things get hectic.

The benefits of planning are huge: you’re creating a roadmap that helps everyone involved in bringing your little one into the world understand your birth preferences.

Crafting this plan means you’ve taken the time to consider options, ask questions, and prioritize what matters most to you. You’re not just hoping for the best; you’re actively shaping the experience. And that’s empowering!

7 points to consider when creating your birth plan:

1. Key participants in planning

In creating your birth plan, it’s essential to involve key participants, such as your partner, family members, and healthcare providers (whether at a hospital or birthing center), to ensure your wishes are fully understood and advocated for during pregnancy and delivery. Partner involvement is particularly crucial; they’re your rock, your voice when you’re focused on birthing your little one.

You’ve got multiple options and you want everyone on the same page. Here’s a handy table to guide the conversation:

Participant Role in Birth Plan
PartnerAdvocate and primary support person
Family MemberEmotional support and practical help
Birthing Center staff, Midwife, Hospital Team, Ob-Gyn Medical guidance and execution
Doula/Support CoachContinuous emotional and physical support

2. Non-medical considerations

nurturing intimacy during parenthood

Beyond healthcare choices, you’ll need to consider practical arrangements like who’ll drive you to the hospital and how to manage home responsibilities during your hospital stay. It’s not just about getting to the birth center or hospital; it’s about ensuring everything at home is taken care of, so you can focus on welcoming your little one with peace of mind.

  • Transportation arrangements – Who’s on standby to whisk you away when it’s go-time?

  • Meal preparation – Can you prep meals in advance, or who’s bringing you that hearty, home-cooked dish post-delivery?

  • Pet and sibling care – Who’s stepping in to maintain their routine, offering you comfort knowing they’re in good hands?

You’re not just planning for birth; you’re crafting a nest of support for your newborn, your family’s newest chapter.

3. Use a template (like the one below!)

How do you transition from planning to action? Utilizing a birth plan template can streamline the process, making your preferences clear and concise to your healthcare team. With a template, you’re not starting from scratch. It’s like having a guide that understands exactly what you’re going through and what you need. Birth plan benefits include helping you communicate effectively with your care team, ensuring they’re on the same page as you when it’s go-time.

When you customize your birth plan, you’re taking control of your birthing experience. This isn’t just a checklist; it’s a conversation starter with your doctor and a declaration of your wishes. Birth plan customization means tailoring each section to fit your unique needs so that when the big day arrives, you’ll feel prepared and heard.

4. Communicate with providers

You’ll often find that effectively communicating your birth plan with healthcare providers ensures they’re equipped to honor your preferences during labor and delivery. An open dialogue is essential, not just to make you feel confident but also for clarity and building relationships with those who’ll be supporting you at this pivotal moment.

To really connect and convey your wishes:

  • Share your vision and fears to create a birth experience that feels safe and empowering.

  • Express your needs and desires with passion, yet remain open to the expertise of your care team.

  • Trust in the power of your voice to advocate for the birth you envision.

5. Empower yourself through planning

Creating your birth plan empowers you to take charge of your labor and delivery experience. It’s like having a map in an unfamiliar city – it guides you through the twists and turns of childbirth. By outlining your preferences, you’re actively participating in the decision-making process, which is a powerful aspect of your journey to parenthood.

Think of the empowerment benefits that come with planning. You’re not just a passenger; you’re co-piloting this incredible experience. The birth plan serves as your voice when you might be too focused on labor to speak up. It ensures that everyone involved is working towards your vision of giving birth, giving you peace of mind and the strength to welcome your little one into the world.

6. Make informed choices

By understanding your childbirth options, you’re better equipped to make choices that align with your personal values and your baby’s health needs. Drafting your birth plan is a crucial step in the decision-making process, ensuring that your birth preferences are clear to everyone involved in bringing your little one into the world.

Consider this:

  • Your birth plan is a declaration of your hopes and a guide for your team.

  • Knowledge is power; understanding procedures and interventions can shape your journey.

  • Every decision is a stepping stone towards the birth experience you envision.

You’re not just planning a birth; you’re advocating for your family’s future. Remember, you’re not alone. This is about connecting with those who’ll stand by you, ensuring your voice is heard when it matters most.

7. Create a supportive environment

While drafting your birth plan, you’re also laying the foundation for a supportive environment that can significantly influence your labor and delivery experience. Your birth partner’s involvement is crucial. They’re not just there for moral support; they’re your advocate, your voice when you need to focus on bringing your little one into the world. Together, you’ll tackle the logistical planning: figuring out the route to the next hospital or birth center, when to buckle in the car seat, and who’s on pet duty.

See, this isn’t just about preferences for pain relief or room lighting; it’s about creating a bubble of calm and control around you. It’s about ensuring everyone’s on the same page, so when the big day comes, you’re surrounded by a team that’s got your back.

Birth plan template

A birth plan is a communication tool for your preferences during childbirth. While flexibility is key, as birth can be unpredictable, this plan helps your healthcare team understand your wishes. Always discuss your birth plan preferences and birthing options with your healthcare provider to ensure feasibility, considering the specifics of your chosen birth location and provider.

Section 1: Basic information

  • Full name:

  • Expected delivery date:

  • Current Date:

  • Companion’s name:

  • Birth facility (Hospital/Birthing Center) info:

  • Healthcare provider’s details:

  • Chosen Pediatrician’s information:

  • Doula’s contact information:

Section 2: Medical history and health status

  • History of Genital Herpes

  • Positive for Group B Strep

  • Needle phobia

  • Gestational diabetes

  • Rh Factor incompatibility

  • Past birth trauma or assault

Section 3: Delivery method and medical interventions

Planned delivery method:

  • Cesarean section

  • Natural vaginal birth

  • Water birth

  • Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)

Labor augmentation preferences:

  • Prostaglandin gel

  • Natural methods first

  • Pitocin

  • Membrane stripping

  • Artificial rupture of membranes

  • No artificial rupture

Pain management options:

  • Breathing techniques

  • Acupressure

  • Acupuncture

  • Massage

  • Hot/cold therapy

  • Medications (Demerol, etc.)

  • Meditation/relaxation techniques (hypnobirthing)

  • TENS Unit

  • Epidural (standard/walking)

  • Personal choice at the time

  • Open to suggestions

Fetal monitoring choices:

  • Intermittent

  • Continuous

  • External

  • Internal

  • Doppler only

  • In case of distress only

IV and vein access preferences:

  • Heparin or saline lock

  • Standard IV line

  • No specific preference

Episiotomy preferences:

  • To prevent tearing

  • After non-invasive techniques

  • Avoidance preferred

  • As a last resort

  • Doctor’s discretion

  • With local anesthesia

If baby requires special care:

Section 4: Labor positions & birthing environment

First stage of labor positions:

  • Walking

  • Standing

  • Lying

  • Showering

  • Bathing

Labor preferences:

  • Minimal disruptions

  • Quiet environment

  • Play personal music selection

  • Dim lighting

  • Limited medical examinations

  • Personal clothing choice (own clothes or hospital-provided gown)

  • Wearing contact lenses/glasses

  • Filming/photography by a partner or professional

  • Hydration options (clear liquids, ice chips, popsicles)

  • Constant companion presence

  • Doctor-approved snacking


  • Urinary catheter

  • Enema

  • Pubic shaving

  • IV line (unless necessary)

Section 5: Partner & family involvement

Preferred company during labor:

  • Family members:

  • Partner:

  • Doula:

  • Friends/other: *Visitor policy of the Hospital/Birthing Center applies

Partner/support person’s role:

  • To sleep in my room

  • Unlimited visiting

  • To accompany the baby to the nursery if they’re not staying in my room

  • To announce the baby’s sex to loved ones in the waiting room

Family involvement post-delivery:

  • Only to see the baby in the nursery

  • Immediate family introduction

  • Later recovery room visits

  • Open visiting policy

Section 6: Delivery preferences

Baby delivery preferences:

  • Directed pushing

  • Spontaneous pushing

  • No time limit for pushing

  • Viewing mirror

  • Touching head at crowning

  • Epidural adjustments

  • No forceps/vacuum use

  • Open to necessary methods

  • Assisting in catching baby

  • Partner/support person catches the baby

  • Immediate skin-to-skin contact

Delivery position preferences:

  • Semi-reclined

  • Squatting

  • Side-lying

  • Hands and knees

  • Standing

  • Supported by partner or staff

  • Use of birthing aids (stool, bar, ball, tub)

Post-delivery wishes:

  • The umbilical cord to be cut only after it stops pulsating (delayed cord clamping)

  • Partner/support person cuts cord

  • Cord blood banking/donation

  • Natural placenta delivery

  • Viewing/keeping placenta

  • Avoiding Pitocin/Oxytocin

  • Practicing the Golden Hour (on the mothers chest immediately)

Bringing own birthing aids:

  • Birthing chair

  • Birthing stool

  • Birthing tub

  • Birthing ball

  • Squat bar

Baby handling post-delivery:

  • After being wiped clean and swaddled

  • Immediately after delivery

  • After suctioning

  • After weighing

  • Pre-eye treatment

  • Feeding preferences (breastfeeding, formula, on-demand/schedule, lactation support)

Section 7: Postpartum care & preferences

Hospital stay duration:

  • As briefly as possible

  • As long as possible

  • As advised by medical team

Postpartum preferences:

  • Wake for feedings

  • Sleep as much as possible

  • Cultural rituals

Post-delivery personal care:

  • Stool softeners

  • Pain relief (Acetaminophen, Percocet, etc.)

  • Laxatives

Breastfeeding plan:

  • Only use a bottle with expressed milk

  • In combination with bottle-feeding

  • As soon as possible after delivery

  • Post-C-Section in recovery

Baby’s medical procedures:

  • Given in partner’s or support person’s presence

  • Given in my presence

  • Post-bonding

  • Specific tests (heel stick, hearing, hepatitis B, Vitamin K, eye treatment)

Consents for baby:

Section 8: Additional elements to consider:

  • Preferences for handling unexpected situations (e.g., emergency cesarean delivery)

  • C-Section specific wishes:

    • To make sure all other options have been exhausted

    • A second opinion request

    • Conscious during procedure

    • Partner’s presence

    • Viewing screen lowering

    • Free hands for immediate contact

    • Explanation during surgery

    • Epidural anesthesia

    • Vaginal seeding

    • Immediate partner/baby contact

  • Specific religious or cultural practices to be observed during childbirth

  • Circumcision decision (if applicable):

    • Not be performed

    • Be performed

    • Be performed later

    • Be performed with anesthesia

    • Parental Presence During Procedure

  • Preferences for the use of technology or devices (e.g., cell phones, tablets)

  • Delivery room birthing environment preferences (e.g., room temperature, lights dimmed, medical students)

  • Post-birth visitation plans (e.g., limiting visitors, specific visiting hours)

  • Special dietary needs or restrictions


maintaining intimacy as a mother

So there you have it, you’re about to become the maestro of your own symphony, with a birth plan as your baton. As a mom of two I have an extra note for all you pregnant moms: remain flexible! Birth plans are important but things don’t always go as you planned!

It’s not just a list, it’s your voice in print, ensuring every crescendo and pause of your hospital or birthing journey harmonizes with your desires.

Chat with your team, fill in that template, and own your experience.

Because when it comes to bringing new life into the world, you’re not just a participant, you’re the star of the show.

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