Writing a Good Birth Plan

Have you thought of making a birth plan, searching for a birth plan worksheet, or a birth plan template?  This post will help you in writing a good birth plan — or, it may make you consider just leaving the birth plan at home. :)

Have I written this blog before?

Writing a good birth plan can help or hurt you when you're in labor and delivery.  Find out how.

Maybe so, it’s something I hit quite often in my profession.  Although, not as often as some people think.  I would guess maybe 5% of our patients have a birth plan where I am now.  Maybe 10%, I would think the number would be closer to 2% at my last hospital.

I just have to say this is one area where you need to just be prepared to take what comes {this coming from someone who LOVES a good spreadsheet}.  Sure, have in your mind that you don’t want an epidural but if the pain is truly more then you can successfully take without going out of your mind with pain, then get an epidural.

So, you want to know how to write a good birth plan?  Let me tell you what a good birth plan template usually includes:  No c-section, no pitocin, no episiotomy.  Newsflash, I don’t want any of those for you either.  I avoid each of them as well as I can while mother nature takes her toll on your body.

Sure, say that you don’t want a c-section, but really — who does?  By saying it, I swear you increase your chance of getting it 3 fold.

But, my final plea is that if you want a home birth experience, give birth at home.  We just have SO many rules at the hospital that we HAVE to follow that can’t give you a home birth experience.  We HAVE to monitor, we have to follow what the doctor says.   It’s just the way of the hospital.  And we take so much risk by letting you have your way with things.

I constantly wish I could just deliver babies without policies or charting or worries.  But, our friends lawyers have made that a thing of the past.

Just remember that your nurse is on your team.  She wants the same thing you do — a healthy mom and baby.  It’s no good trying to fight it. ;)

** After reading this post I think I sound really anti-natural birthing.  And I’m not.  I went 12 days past my due date with Princess P and I’m not usually an advocate for pitocin.  BUT, I’ve just heard some crazy things lately about pitocin use and I’m not sure where people are getting it.  Also, I just want my patients to realize I am ON their team.  100%.

Other posts you might like:
5 Basic Labor Terms
5 Medical Things to Think About Postpartum
Things to Do Before Having a Baby
What to Pack to Have a Baby
Is My Water Broken?

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  1. says

    Well said. As a crazy person whose done it FOUR times, I think some of the reality makes it easier to plan. That plan usually involves getting the baby out of my body, and not dying. Really those were my only two goals with my last two. There were a list of bonus items: epidural (fail), saline block (fail), my own pretty gown (dumb idea), no vomitting (success!), just me and hubs in the room (success again!), and an OB who I’d met before (fail on all four!) – then you hold your baby and you know that you did that, however you did that, and it doesn’t matter any more because now you have a list of other things to worry about, and you can control most of those.

  2. says

    It looks like “Natural Mom” deleted her comment. A few thoughts on mean doctors and nurses:
    1. We are ruled by policy which is ruled by the law. The end. You have no idea how easily we can be sued and for how long, and for millions, and millions of dollars.
    2. If your doctor doesn’t jive with your wishes, I’d leave. She shouldn’t have to kick you out. But, she has probably had patients die who were unwilling to use Pitocin and she just don’t want that again. Simple as that.
    3. You didn’t have a natural birth because you wrote a birth plan, you had one because you were lucky. Many women are not that lucky. Their uterus doesn’t contract, their hips are too small, their baby has a defect.

    **I am 100% for education. I TEACH prenatal class, and I am very honest and open with our practices. I LOVE patients who are educated and wanting to participate in their care. Your words would be really hurtful to women who were unable to have a natural birth even WITH a birth plan. I hate to mention the fact that I have seen thousands of births and you’ve seen… what? one? I’m glad you have a healthy mom and a healthy baby. That is always my goal, and I hope it’s my patient’s as well.

  3. Heather says

    I would totally agree with you. When you step foot in the hospital, you release any control you have over your birth. It is a completely different model than a home birth.

    I have so much admiration for women who go to the hospital. It is very rare that you get the birth experience you want and the likelihood of intervention is almost certain. Like you said, it is all about what the doctor and hospital wants to do.

    My one sister had her three at home and there is no way that a hospital doctor would have been able to help her deliver vaginally without complications or intervention like her midwives were able to do. It took a lot of time and the help of an experienced midwife who knew how to work with the body. She would have had 3 c-sections for sure.

    Every woman needs to make the decision of where she feels most comfortable giving birth and then realize that it will simply look different.

  4. says

    At the end of the day, how your baby got here and how much medication or not you needed to deliver is not nearly as important as having a healthy babe in your arms, the strength to recover quickly and enjoy your baby is what really matters. I love natural Child Birth, I enjoyed less is more, but one of my births was lead by our daughter surviving not by the plan or desire! Thankful for a brilliant Physician and a flexible attitude. Birth is a process, more often it go’s as planed and Natural is doable, but at the end of this journey it really won’t matter after you hold your baby, and years down the road, it will just be part of your personal story! HAPPY BIRTHING

  5. says

    I so admire ob nurses. Dealing with hormonal women??? Yeesh.
    I have had 2 babies at home, one at a birthing center(midwife) and two in the hospital -one of which was an emergency c-section. (tranverse breech)
    My home births were my favorite, since they were perfectly normal, yada, yada, but boy was I thankful for the hospital when I needed it. Never wrote a plan–figured they were gonna have to do certain stuff anyways, and what could be personalized i could verbally choose at the time. Which I did.
    Great perspective.

  6. says

    I have two healthy children and both were born in the hospital with various forms of intervention. My second child was far from a seamless birth and included the bed about to be rolled into the OR so that I could have a C Section and me begging to please let me push and by some miracle getting that baby out in 3 pushes. (I’m sure the doctor wanted to strangle me at that point, but I think he was less persuaded by me than by the fact that the baby’s heart beat had come back up from a big dip). That being said the only place I would ever choose to give birth is in a place where in the event of something catastrophic, in a matter of seconds my child and I would have access to every possible intervention to keep my baby and me alive. My living room does not accommodate that. I dislike hospitals as much as the next person, but in the words of Casey Affleck, “What, there are people that like it there?”. I can’t imagine choosing to have a home birth and then something going wrong and living with the what ifs for the rest of my life.

  7. Kate says

    Unfortunately, I am not able to have a home birth in the state that I live (Alabama). It is illegal for a midwife or doula to practice birth outside of the hospital. They can have their licenses suspended or revoked and fined thousands of dollars. The nurses at my hospital are very happy to accept birth plans and ask for them. They even ask that they be as detailed as possible so that they don’t have to continually ask a laboring mother what it is she wants. All they ask us that you are open minded when it comes to emergency situations.

    • says

      I dont’ mind birth plans at all. Ilove knowing what my patient wants…. I just think when people are set in their ways God always finds them a new plan. ;)