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Birth Plans

A birth plan is a document that tells your health-care provider and the hospital staff:

  • What kind of childbirth you would like.
  • How you would like your baby cared for after he is born.

It is important to remember that labour and delivery cannot be planned in advance and it is important to be flexible. Your labour may be quite different from what you anticipated or may change completely if an emergency situation arrives. The best birth plan is “BE FLEXIBLE”. Birth plans can guide you & your doctors in your wishes, but if too rigid, they can cause you to have a confusing and disappointing delivery experience. It is more important for you to focus on your and your baby’s health than to “stick to a plan.”

How to write a birth plan

Simple and short is best. It should be less than one page long. Try to be realistic and be aware that your childbirth will include your health-care team, yourself, your partner, the baby, and your family. Your birth plan works best if you write down what you want and what you would prefer if things do not happen as you planned. For example, you may write, “I would prefer not to have an intravenous needle during labour. But if the staff think I need one for a clear medical reason, then I would agree to have one, but only if, and when, it is needed.”

LHO has a draft birth plan for you to use, but some people choose to write their own.


When to write a birth plan

Most women write a birth plan after they talk over their childbirth plans with a health-care provider and once they know what their hospital offers in terms of routines and care. It’s also a good idea to discuss the plan with your partner and your family if they are going to be involved in some way. However, it is your body, and your family needs to understand that you are the only one who can make some of the more personal decisions (pain control, for example).

Common things included in a birth plan

Some of the most common topics addressed in a birthplan include people present for the birth, preferences for pain relief, birthing positions, episiotomy and cutting of the umbilical cord.

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