Your guide to a birth plan
Going to plan
What to include in your birth plan
Giving birth to your first baby is a once in a lifetime experience, so you’ll want to ensure you’ve considered everything. From birthing positions and pain
How to write a birth plan
A birth plan states your preferences for both labour and birth. It gives you the chance to think about your hopes for the birth and also provides the midwife with a guide to the kind of birth you'd like. You can include as much detail as you like and make changes at any time, before or during labour.
Research before you write
If you’re attending antenatal classes, it’s likely that you’ll talk about birth plans. Alternatively, ask friends who have recently had babies what they recommend including. It’s a good idea to research pain relief options, so you know what to expect. And, if you’re planning to give birth in
Birth plan template
- Your birth partner
State who will be with you in labour and whether you want them with you at all times.
- Labour and birth positions
Would you like to be moving around, using a birthing ball, or on all fours? Think about how you might be most comfortable.
- Pain relief
Breathing techniques, water, gas and air, or epidural? List the pain relief you’d like to use and the order you’d prefer it in, and state any methods you don’t want to use.
- Where you’d like to give birth
Hospital or home birth, where would you like to have your baby? If you choose
a homebirth, make sure your midwife can attend.
- Assisted birth
If you need help giving birth, state whether you’d prefer forceps or ventouse.
- Feeding your baby
If you plan to breastfeed, make it clear if you don’t want your breastfed baby’s feeds to be topped up with formula.
- Unexpected situations
If your baby has to go to a special baby care unit, how involved do you want to be with their care?
- Medical conditions or disabilities
Include any information about medical conditions or disabilities that can help your midwife on the day.
- Cultural or religious needs
If English isn’t your first language and you need an interpreter, let your midwife know. If there are any religious or cultural practices to be carried out after your baby is born, include these.
- Other considerations
Ambient lighting; uplifting music; whose voices your baby hears when they enter the world… think about the whole experience of this once-in-a-lifetime event and add as much detail as you want.
Once you’ve written your birth plan, talk it through with your midwife to ensure your preferences are possible. They will also be able to answer any questions and discuss options. Remember, this is a plan and it could change during labour. But, rest assured, any alterations will have your baby’s best interests at heart, and you will always be consulted first.
Free online tools
Practical tools from our due date calculator to our handy hospital bag checklist
Questions about feeding and nutrition?
Our nutritionists and feeding advisors are always on hand to talk about feeding your baby. So if you have a question, just get in touch.