Sample Birth Plans
At Birthing Naturally, we are not fans of the fill-in-the-blank or check-box style birth plans. Although these methods are fast and easy, we find them to be best used as a starting point to discover the options available.
Birth planning takes time. You need to be familiar with your options, understand how they can or will affect other aspects of your labor, and know what your health team is comfortable with. The true value of a birth plan lies in the time it takes to prepare. The discussions you have with your midwife or doctor, the research you do into the various options and the communication between all members of your birth team as you finalize your decisions are the reasons birth planning is so valuable. It is through this work you are able to build a strong team who is working together towards a common goal.
We also understand the nervousness many families experience as they attempt to put their choices on paper. You want to make sure it reflects your true feelings, is easy to read and is complete. To help you better prepare for writing out your birth plan, we offer the following sample birth plans. It is interesting how much of the personality of the family you can see in the birth plan document.
The following birth plans have been shared by students in my childbirth classes. Most of my families give birth naturally in hospitals with midwives. When possible, specific information about the family is given in the description.
Family One's Plan - this family did experience a natural childbirth.
Family Two's Plan - this family experienced a very long start and stop labor. They decided to use Pitocin to help the labor progress and used an epidural for pain relief.
Family Three's Plan - this family was expecting twins. The first twin was born vaginally, the second twin was born via cesarean surgery.
Family Four's Plan - this family had a non-medicated water birth for their third child after one epidural and one natural childbirth. They also had no cervical checks and only used a doptone for monitoring as necessary (no 20 minute strip). This was accomplished in a hospital because they had discussed all their desires ahead of time with their midwife.
Family Five's Plan - this family had a natural childbirth with a doula.
Family Six's Plan - this family had a natural childbirth with baby one, and went on to have a natural birth for baby number two.
Formats for Birth Plans
There is no right or wrong way to share your preferences. Choose the format that shares your wishes in the easiest to read style. For the highest readability, keep your birth plan on one sheet of paper, front only.
Chart Plan Sample - the chart format is simple and easy to read.
Paragraph Plan Sample - the paragraph format gives you the most words to describe your wishes but it is also the most difficult to read.
Bullet Point Plan Sample - bullet points are easier to read than paragraphs and can give you more words to describe your preferences than a chart. Be sure to clearly state your preferences to prevent confusion.