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Birth Plan basics

A Birth Plan is a short, simple document that details childbirth and postpartum preferences. The person giving birth usually makes the Birth Plan, though it can also be made with assistance of a partner or a doula. Functioning as a checklist of topics to consider before giving birth, the Birth Plan will cover where you are giving birth and who is on your birth team, as well as what your preferences are for labor, delivery, cesarean birth, and any interventions. It will also outline visitor guidelines and instructions for care of the baby after birth. A copy of the birth plan should be given to everyone on the birth team, including your care providers and anyone else who will be in the room during labor and delivery.

Use the Birth Plan document if:

  • You are pregnant and are preparing to give birth
  • You want to help someone giving birth make a plan

Before making a Birth Plan, it is helpful to know your due date or induction date, and where you plan for the baby to be born. Additionally, you should have some ideas of your preferences for what methods of pain management you'd be most comfortable with, whether you'd like the baby to stay with you, and if you want to breastfeed—though you are always able to change your mind later. It would also be good to check with the hospital or birthing center to verify that they can accommodate your preferences. If you are giving birth at home, talk to your midwife about your preferences.

If you do not plan to have a scheduled c-section, you should also consider your preferences in case a cesarean delivery becomes necessary. A Birth Plan should help you cover your bases, so that your birth team will have a good idea of your preferences in a variety of possible situations.

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