How To Write A Birth Plan | The Complete New Parent's Guide
Thinking about the day your little one makes their big entrance into the world can make you feel nervous, excited, anxious, overjoyed, and everything in-between! That’s completely understandable.
To prepare for the big day, think ahead about what you want labor and delivery to be like and then communicate your ideas to the people who will be with you. Enter: your birth plan.
In this article, the Newton Baby experts explain what a birth plan is and how to create one. We’ll also include a few tips for preparing to welcome your little one into your home, which is just as important as what happens in the delivery room!
What Is A Birth Plan?
Writing a birth plan means putting down on paper your ideas, preferences, and expectations for what happens before, during, and immediately after your baby’s delivery. It can be as detailed or as simple as you want.
A birth plan helps you think through your expectations, know what to talk to your doctor about, and make sure that you and everyone involved in your birth (like your doctor, partner, doula, birthing coach, family, etc.) are on the same page for this very important day!
If you’re not sure where to start, we’re here to help. Below, we’ll list tips to keep in mind when writing your birth plan, followed by a list of what you can include in your plan.
How To Write A Birth Plan
Tips To Keep In Mind
1) Use A Template Or Write Your Own
If you prefer to keep things simple, search for a birth plan template online. All you’ll have to do is fill it out and check some boxes! Or, if you prefer, write your birth plan yourself to make it your own.
2) Learn Typical Procedures
Research the typical procedures at the hospital or birthing center where you’ll be delivering. They may have policies that you need to take into account when creating your birth plan.
Also, let your doctor take a look at your plan to see if they have any special suggestions.
3) Give Copies To Everyone Involved In The Birth
Once you’ve put the final touch on your birth plan, give a copy to everyone who will have a role in the big day (think: your partner, doula, birthing coach, doctor, etc.). When they’ve read over your plan, answer their questions and talk about any ideas they may have.
It’s also a good idea to have a couple of extra copies ready to take to the hospital when the big day comes!
4) Be Flexible
Remember that you’ll need to be flexible. Even with the most detailed birth plan, you can’t prepare for everything that could happen over the course of labor, delivery, and postpartum.
Last-minute decisions might have to be made by you, your partner, or your doctor on the day of delivery. You can make provisions for some situations, but just remember that you can’t predict everything!
What To Include In Your Birth Plan
The length and detail of your birth plan are entirely up to you! To get you started, here are a few ideas of what to consider including.
1) Basic Information
Include basic information like your name, your doctor’s contact information, where you’ll give birth, your due date or induction date, and any important health information.
2) Who Will Be There
Obviously, you’ll be there and your little one will make an appearance! But other than that, write down who will take you to the hospital, who will be in the delivery room, and whether or not you want someone taking photos or video during the birth.
3) Preferences For Labor And Delivery
When it comes to labor and the hard work of pushing (or undergoing a C-section), there’s a lot to think about. Look through the below list of considerations to see what applies to you.
- Do you want music playing?
- Do you want the lights bright or dim?
- Will you bring special items from home to make you feel comfortable?
- What will you wear?
- What will you eat and drink?
- Do you want to move around or stay in bed?
- Will you use a birthing tub, exercise ball, or other equipment?
- How do you want to be supported during labor?
- What are your preferences in the case of an induction or last-minute C-section?
- How would you like to manage the pain?
- What are your preferred birthing positions?
- Do you want your doctor to use fetal monitoring?
- Do you want a routine IV?
- Are you okay with an episiotomy?
- Do you want to see the baby crown (with a mirror) or touch their head as they crown?
- Are you comfortable with the doctor using forceps or vacuum extraction?
4) Preferences For Caring For Baby
You brought your little one into the world! At this point, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief. But as a new parent, there are still a few preferences to indicate on your birth plan when it comes to the care of your new baby.
Here are some questions to think about:
- Do you want to hold your baby immediately after they enter the world?
- Do you want to breastfeed immediately?
- Will you be combining breastfeeding with bottle-feeding?
- Would you or your partner like to help cut the umbilical cord?
- Do you want to save the umbilical cord blood?
- Do you have preferences regarding the placenta?
- Do you want your baby in the room with you all the time or can they go to the nursery?
- If you’re expecting a boy, will he be circumcised at the hospital?
- Who should the doctor speak with first in the case of an emergency?
- Do you have preferences for the location or timing of your baby’s standard medical exam and procedures?
Expert tip: Decide now what your baby will wear in the hospital and on the way home! If you have a special outfit in mind, pack it in your hospital bag. You might also want to bring your own swaddle if you plan on swaddling your little one.
For a 100% breathable and 100% cute swaddle, try Newton Baby’s Organic Swaddle Blankets. Your baby will love the soft, organic muslin cotton, and you’ll love the functionality — your swaddle blanket can double as a nursing cover, burp cloth, or blanket!
How To Prepare For Your Baby’s Birth
With these ideas for writing a birth plan, you’ll be one step closer to being ready for the day you go into labor!
But preparing for that day involves more than just a birth plan. You’ll also need to have your house in order to receive the family’s newest member.
Stock Up On Baby Supplies
You might already be well on your way to having all the cute baby items you need to keep your little one happy and healthy. But to be sure you have all your bases covered, take a look at our baby checklist.
At the very least, make sure you have what you need to take your baby home and see you through the first few weeks. This includes a car seat to take them home from the hospital or birthing center and, of course, lots of diapers, bottles, onesies, and the like.
Don’t forget that you’ll be doing lots of laundry, so it may be a good idea to buy more than one of some items, like Breathable, Organic Cotton Sheets. With two crib sheets, you can put one in the wash and the other on the crib so your little one won’t miss a nap!
Prepare A Safe Nursery
In addition to picking out paint colors, decorations, and cute curtains for the nursery, you’ll want to make it a safe place for your newborn to snooze.
Looking out for your baby’s safety during naps and nighttime is called safe sleep and includes:
- Putting your baby to sleep on their back, not their side or stomach
- Sharing your room with baby, but not your bed (some parents use a bassinet)
- Using a firm crib mattress that fits correctly inside the crib (not too big and not too small)
- Keeping blankets, pillows, and toys out of the crib
When deciding on which mattress to purchase, consider a breathable mattress, like Newton Baby’s Crib Mattress. Once your baby learns to roll over by themselves, a breathable mattress will help keep them safe by reducing the risk of suffocation.
With a Newton Baby mattress, you can rest easy knowing your baby is sleeping safe and sound. Our mattress is also 100% washable from cover to core, which means you can do away with mold, bacteria, and allergens for even more peace of mind.
Prepare For Baby’s Birth And Beyond
With our tips and ideas, you’ve got what you need to create your own birth plan. Finish your preparations for the big day and your baby’s homecoming by making sure their nursery is safe and inviting.
Complete their nursery with Newton Baby's Crib Mattress and adorable sheets. Then all that’s left to do is eagerly await your sweet one’s arrival!