Pregnant woman and man sitting on sofa

As parents-to-be, you have a lot to consider. The day you give birth is one of the most significant of your life. Creating a birth plan ahead of time helps you make decisions about how you want your labor and delivery to be, and lets others know your wishes. That way, when the big day arrives, you can focus on what's most important—bringing your new baby into the world.

What Is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is an outline of your preferences for labor and delivery, as well as during your baby’s first hours of life. For example, your birth plan may include who you want with you during labor, how you would like to manage your pain, and how you would like to feed your baby. Include anything that might make your labor and birth more comfortable.

Keep in mind, though, that a birth plan is not set in stone, because you can’t predict everything that may happen that day. You or your healthcare provider may need to make changes to the plan once your labor begins. It’s important to stay flexible if something unexpected happens or your feelings change as labor progresses.

What Should I Include in a Birth Plan?

Although you may be tempted to include many details in a birth plan, try to keep it short so it's easy for everyone to read and understand.

This birth plan worksheet, developed by Women & Babies Hospital, can help you consider important details and make planning a little easier.

This virtual tour takes you all the way from planning for your baby’s birth to taking your bundle of joy home from the hospital. Knowing what to expect will help make your experience go as smoothly as possible.