You are pregnant and it’s been suggested to create a birth plan. You may not even know where to start. Let me, a birth doula and veteran mom, help you understand what to include in a birth plan.

Through the Lens of a Birth Doula

Look at this question through a different lens. If you went into labor with no support person, no physical support tools or techniques available what would you do? How could you manage birth without the “necessities” or ideal, things to get you through?

Let’s talk empowerment!

Society has misled us to believe that we need all the latest and greatest in order to achieve a successful birth plan. I do not agree. Your birth plan is somewhat of a hidden gem, and all the other things are embellishments. It starts on the inside; answer these questions.

  • What are you thinking going into birth?
  • How are you preparing your mind?
  • Do you know you can do it? Do you believe in yourself? How deeply have you connected with your inner powers?
  • How have your traumas impacted you and how can you manage those traumas best during your labor and birth process.
  • What words of affirmation work best for you that you can share with your birth support circle?

Your answer to these questions are items that you drop into your birth bag before anything else.

What Else to Include in Your Birth Plan

First off think of your birth plan as “Birth Wishes” for a healthy labor and delivery. They are your hopes, but know your baby will also have a plan of arrival that may differ. It is helpful to separate your birth plan into labor requests and postpartum requests. This is beneficial for the nurses as they may be two separate teams.

Labor Requests

  • List who you plan to allow in the delivery room. This is helpful if you have some in-laws who may try to make their way in.
  • Let your team know if you want to be coached with breathing and techniques during delivery or if you want to work through it on your own.
  • Often times nurses like to hook you up for fetal monitoring so they can hear heart rates. Be clear if you would prefer intermittent fetal monitoring so that you can move around freely.
  • Discuss pain management. Make it clear if you want an epidural or if you hope to have no medication. Note, this is also important to discuss with your birthing partner as they know you best.
  • Mention if you have specific delivery request. Do you want to deliver in a unique position or use hypnobirthing? Here you can also say if you are okay with birthing tools such as forceps or a vacuum.
  • What are your delivery room preferences? Do you have a music playlist, low lighting, or aromatherapy you want present?
  • Does your birthing partner wish to cut the umbilical cord? This is helpful to put in your birth plan so the doctor doesn’t accidentally cut it first. Here is also where you would include if you want delayed clamping.
  • If you are adamant that your baby’s vernix be left on you should let your wishes be known and ask baby to be placed on your chest immediately without being wiped down.
  • Note any medical conditions, such as if you are positive for Group B Strep or have gestational diabetes.

Postpartum Requests

  • Decide if you want baby kept in your room or if you are okay with him going to the nursery to sleep. Let this be known in your birth plan.
  • Ask your OBGYN or midwife about the initial medications that are offered to your newborn: Vitamin K shot, Hepatitis B vaccine, Erythromycin eye drops, and Rotavirus vaccine. In your birth plan make it clear which medications you will allow your baby to have.
  • Let the team know if you plan to exclusively breastfeed, formula feed, or a mix.
  • If you don’t want your baby given a pacifier or formula you should let that be known as you may forget in the moment. You can ask for the nurses to write/tape on the baby’s bassinet that you do not want a pacifier or formula given.
  • If you are having a boy you can add if you plan to have him circumcised or not.

Go over your birth plan with your OBGYN or midwife beforehand and stick to your gut feelings. Additionally, know that you have the capacity to withstand the trial of labor. Self-Trust! Have faith in your ability as a carrier of life to complete the process of birth, with or without intervention. You will arrive to your destination in divine time and in divine order. Carry in your birth bag, “I Believe, I will, I am capable, and, I accept.” 

About The Author

Boston Postpartum Doula

I , Isylah Ife Zaida Shabaka Haynes, am a conductor of light and healing energy. I am a being who was given a role as a woman and has birthed five. As a professional photographer, I specialize in captivating one’s true essence, vividly and spiritually translating a reflection of one’s authentic light through images. Much like photography, my doula hands are 100% intuitive. My walk with mothers through labor and birth is about trust, love, empowerment, and journeying through a tunnel of light to a point of ultimate surrender. This has been one of my life’s greatest works. Encouraging her, affirming her strength and abilities, aiding her, and being one with her in that moment of bringing forth, has been essential to living in my purpose. Offering my hand and heart through education and training, I’ve learned that I’m able to maximize my God given talents through acts of service.