How to Write a Birth Plan (and What To Include)

Writing a birth plan can be an exciting but slightly daunting experience but it’s your time to research, understand the options available and decide what is right for you and the birth of your baby. Think of it as a personal wish list for birth. You can start thinking about your birth plan as early as the second trimester and experts advise writing your birth plan around the 32nd week of pregnancy. We have written a short guide to help you with your research, including our top tips for writing a birth plan and what your birth plan should cover.

Step 1: Research

Before you start writing your birth plan, it's important to educate yourself and understand the options and interventions that may be available to you during labor and delivery. You can research online, attend classes, speak to your friends and family but most importantly speak with your healthcare provider and midwife who will be able to give you the best personalised advice for you and your baby. The main topics you will need to research include birth place options, pain management, positions for labour and possible medical interventions. 

Step 2: Prioritise

Your birth plan is your chance to give your preferences so consider listing alternatives you are also comfortable with if option one isn’t possible on the day. It’s better to be prepared with multiple options than be caught off guard. Think about what is most important to you and what you are most worried about. Would you like a natural birth with minimal interventions, not to have an epidural or would you prefer as much pain relief as possible? There is no right and wrong answer, this is personal to you so make sure you list your preferences in bullet points, or short sentences so your midwife can easily understand and help you with your most positive birth experience.

Step 3: Your Support System

Having the right people around you is one of the most important things to consider not only for the birth but also for the last few weeks of pregnancy through to the labour. Everyone will want to help you however they can but make sure you have the right people for you and your birth journey. Think about the role you would like each person to play in supporting you and communicate to them at the time you write your birth plan to ensure you get the best support possible. Your birthing partner doesn’t have to be your partner, this can be a parent, grandparent or friend - whoever you personally think will give you the positive encouragement you need at the time of birth (trust us no-one will be offended if they don’t get chosen!) They just want what is best for you. 

Step 4: What to Include

When it comes to the actual writing of your birth plan it’s useful to make sure you have covered the main topics, these include:

Labour and Delivery

Where you want to give birth

Who you would like as your birthing partner - be sure to include their name, relationship to you and contact number. Labour can progress quickly, so being able to contact them easily if they have stepped out to pick up something from the car, or grab a snack is important. 

What positions you’d like to use and be comfortable with during labour

What type of pain relief you would like during labour, or if you would rather not be offered any unless you request it.

What type of environment you would like to create - would you like music playing etc.

Assisted delivery preference - forceps or vacuum delivery

If you would like any special facilities like a birthing pool, birth ball etc.


    How you would like to deliver the placenta

    Would you like to have a delayed cord cutting

    How you would like to feed your baby after birth

    If you would like any special requirements like a sign language interpreter or religious customs

      It is important to remember that your birth plan does not need to be the bible, you can change your mind at any point before or during labour on any of your preferences. You also need to bear in mind that sometimes things don’t always go according to plan so being flexible and open minded to different methods of delivery will also help you through your labour and delivery process if these instances occur. The NHS provide a handy birth plan template which you can download online and use as your birth plan or a guide to write one yourself. You can download this here.

      Step 5: Share Your Birth Plan

      Once you have written your birth plan make sure you share it with your health provider and/or midwife and also your birthing partner well before your due date so they are aware of all of your preferences and can best support you. Make sure you talk through each point in detail and highlight any worries or concerns you may have with any part of the process so you thoroughly understand your options and will happen during labour and delivery. Pack multiple copies in your hospital bag and have a copy saved on your and your birthing partner’s phone, so you have a back up if it gets misplaced. 

      The process of labour and delivery doesn’t have to be a terrifying experience but fear of birth is very natural. The more knowledge you have on each aspect of the process and the more questions you ask beforehand, the more comfortable you will feel when the time comes so you are fully supported on your birth journey.  

      Here are a few useful links for any further guidance or advice on writing your birth plan.