pregnant woman sitting on the couch and writing a birth plan on her tablet

Make a Birth Plan Using This Template

By Elena Donovan Mauer
Reviewed by A. Jenna Beckham, M.D.
January 24, 2024

As you get ready to meet your baby, you may have ideas of how you’d like the birth to go. Making a birth plan can help you narrow down your wishes and communicate them to your healthcare team. Here’s how to do it using our birth plan template.

What Is a Birth Plan?

A birth plan is a wish list for your baby’s delivery. It can include your preferences for before, during, and after the birth. Sharing your birth plan with your healthcare team can help them understand how to best care for you and your baby.

Remember that a birth plan isn’t a list of instructions or demands. Childbirth can be unpredictable, and things don’t always go as planned. But it can help everyone stay on the same page about the aspects of the birth that are most important to you.

How to Make a Birth Plan

Your first step in writing a birth plan is to learn as much as possible about childbirth. Take a childbirth class. This will help you learn about different preferences you may want to write into your plan. Many hospitals and birthing centers offer these classes for expectant parents.

Also, take a tour of the hospital or birthing center where you’ll deliver. Ask questions so you know:

  • How many visitors are allowed in the delivery room and/or the postpartum room.
  • Whether children are allowed to visit.
  • Visiting hours.
  • Procedures the hospital follows, such as delayed cord clamping, an infant feeding policy, whether babies “room in” with birthing parents, and whether the staff helps promote safe skin-to-skin contact.
  • Whether it’s a teaching hospital. If so, trainees may be involved in care. This can include medical students, residents, nursing students, and anesthesia trainees.
  • Policies about photos and/or videos during birth.
  • What pain management options will be available to you.
  • What labor support tools will be available to you. This could include birthing balls, squat bars, etc.
  • Whether portable fetal monitors are used, which would allow you to move around the room during labor.
  • Cesarean section procedures. Some hospitals may allow you to have a clear drape so you can better see the baby’s birth. Some may allow skin-to-skin contact in the operating room. Others may not be as flexible.

If you can’t take a tour, ask your doctor or midwife questions about what you can expect at the hospital or birth center. This will help you understand what is and isn’t possible to write into your birth plan. It may also help you know what you might not need to include because it’s already common practice there.

Birth Plan Template

Use this template to create your own birth plan. Simply fill in your personal details and your preferences.

Twill Birth Plan Template Page 1

Twill Birth Plan Template Page 2

Download a PDF of this free birth plan template.

Birth Plan Checklist

pregnant woman and partner writing a birth plan together

Your birth plan should include things most important to you during and after childbirth—what you want, what you’re open to, and what you’d like to avoid. Consider covering:

  • Pain relief. Include any preferred pain control methods, like epidural anesthesia, or whether you’d like to avoid pain medication.
  • Labor interventions. Are there any interventions you’re open to or would like to try to avoid? These could include methods intended to progress labor, like breaking your water or the induction medication Pitocin (although sometimes these interventions are medically indicated), or whether or not you’re okay with having an IV deliver fluids to you.
  • Comfort measures. Add any specifics of how you’d like to experience labor. This can include things like wanting to move around the room or the ability to take a shower. You could add music or sound choices you may have, or whether you’d like to eat and/or drink (as long as it’s medically appropriate).
  • Delivery interventions. Include birthing interventions you’re open to or want to avoid, such as an episiotomy or operative vaginal delivery.
  • Pushing preferences. If you’re delivering vaginally, what would you like the pushing stage to be like? This could include having support from your partner or comfort measures like a quiet room, dim lights, or a warm washcloth on your forehead. It may also include birth positions you’d like to try.
  • C-section birth plans. Include C-section preferences whether you’re planning one or not. Remember that a C-section delivery is always a possibility. So it’s important to think through what you want the experience to be like, even if it’s your Plan B.
  • Umbilical cord plans. Is there someone specific you’d like to cut the umbilical cord? Would you like delayed cord clamping (as long as your baby is safe/stable)?
  • Preservation and donation. If you’re interested in placenta encapsulation, or if you plan to donate or bank the cord blood, add it to your plan.
  • Post-birth procedures. Whom would you like to hold the baby first? Are there specific ways you want to bond with your baby, such as skin-to-skin contact or breastfeeding?
  • Feeding plans. Let your care team know how you want to feed your baby.
  • Rooming in. Do you feel strongly about how much time the baby will spend with you in your room? Be sure you know what is typical at your hospital or birth center before you write this in.
  • Circumcision preferences. What are your plans about circumcising the baby?

What to Do with Your Birth Plan

woman talking about her birth plan with her doctor

Once you’ve written a draft of your birth plan, bring it to your doctor or midwife and go over it together. The provider may have some important suggestions for you.

Then, finalize the birth plan and print out at least two copies. Give one copy to your provider at your prenatal visit at least a month before your due date (or about 36 weeks into your pregnancy).

Pack your other copy in your hospital bag so you have it when you get to the hospital or birthing center. Share it with your doctors and nurses throughout your stay.

Remember: The birth plan is just a plan. Childbirth can be unpredictable. The most important goal is to ensure that you and your baby are safe and happy, not that you stick perfectly to the plan.

For more on how to make a birth plan, see our article: “Questions About Birth Plans? We’ve Got Answers”

Looking for birth plan ideas? See how other parents wrote their birth plans: “5 Birth Plan Examples to Inspire You to Write Your Own”

You May Also Like: