As an expectant mom, you know the importance of planning for the arrival of your little one. With many details to keep track of – from picking out a name and attending childbirth classes to preparing for hospital or home birth – it can feel overwhelming at times. That’s why having a printable birth plan checklist is essential!
Picking up where standard advice leaves off, this printable template provides pregnant moms with specific and actionable steps that will help them make confident decisions about their labor and delivery experience.
From creating a list of needs while in the hospital to drafting your postpartum goals, this printable checklist offers detailed guidance and tips from a mother of 3 – so dive right in!
What is a Birth Plan?
Having a birth plan is like having an advocate with you throughout labor and delivery. It’s your personal statement that helps to ensure that everyone involved in the process respects those wishes for how your birthing experience should be.
Investing some time now into creating this document could help make sure things go as smoothly as possible on your delivery day!
As an expectant mother, formulating your birth plan is essential for ensuring that you and your baby have the best delivery experience possible.
Think through how you want to manage labor pain, what kind of postpartum care is important to prioritize, and any special procedures or tests if needed for newborns – all while setting yourself up with an atmosphere conducive to relaxation during childbirth!
Why Should You Have A Birth Plan?
Being pregnant is an exciting but daunting experience, and making sure you’re prepared for what will happen when it’s time to give birth can take a huge load off your mind.
Writing a birth plan can help make the labor process easier by giving both the expectant mom and her medical team clarity on expectations.
A Birth Plan puts your plans, goals and feelings in writing in the form of detailed instructions. When you are in labor you may not be able to verbalize your desires.
But where do you even begin? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with our guide to crafting your perfect birth plan — no matter how complicated or straightforward it needs to be!
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Preparing a Birth Plan
A birth plan is a guide, not a minute-by-minute agenda to be followed. Because of this, it is important to remain flexible. Babies sometimes make their own plans, too! The best-laid plans sometimes go awry, so educating yourself about birth options and labor procedures will only help.
Discover What Birth and Delivery Options Are Out There
- Do you want a natural birth if possible?
- Do you have a doula?
- Are you doing birth classes, such as Bradley or Lamaze?
- Are you trying to avoid a cesarean or is this a VBAC?
- Who do you want in the room?
- Do you plan to breastfeed?
- Will cord blood be banked or do you want to delay clamping or cutting?
These are just some questions you need to explore before you prepare your birth plan.
How To Write A Birth Plan
Birth plans should always include basic and general information first. Your name, birth attendants, your medical provider’s name, as well as where you plan to give birth.
Next, you need to consider the various phases of labor and birth and write out those “must haves” and “no thank you” parts of the process.
Now, let’s break down the individual parts of your birth plan.
Birth Plan Checklist for Labor & Delivery
Where Would You Like to Give Birth?
HOSPITAL: For a more comfortable start to your special day, consider birthing rooms! It’s like you’re bringing the comforts of home into labor and delivery. These private suites are designed for both mom and baby with amenities like adjustable lighting to create a cozy atmosphere till it’s time to meet your little one!
Birthing Center: If you have a low-risk pregnancy, these centers are perfect for delivering your bundle of joy with minimal medical interventions.
However, if complications arise during the labor or delivery process, be sure that there’s backup assistance to ensure proper care is given as each center has ties to nearby hospitals in case emergent situations occur!
Home Birth: Thinking of having your baby in the comfort and privacy of home? While it’s a viable option for those who are low-risk, has already been through uncomplicated childbirth before and whose health is excellent – make sure you always have contingency plans too.
It’s wise to double-check if your physician or midwife has experience with at-home births beforehand so that you’re covered just in case!
Important Information In Your Medical History
It’s always a good idea to be prepared! Make sure you make a note of your medical history and any medications or conditions that may impact delivery. And don’t forget about including past pregnancies & childbirth details too – these can help guide the way for this one!
Who Do You Want In The Delivery Room?
This can be tricky for some families, especially if you want privacy, so it’s very important that you are clear with your wishes before you are in labor.
Be sure to make a list of who you want in the delivery room with you – your partner, doula or even a special friend.
Think beyond medical professionals and consider other supportive people such as birth photographers; they can capture precious moments so that this rite-of-passage experience is remembered forever!
Comfort Items to Bring and What Type of Environment You Want
As you prepare for your labor and delivery, writing down where you choose to give birth is just the beginning. It’s important to ensure that your birthing environment reflects what makes YOU most comfortable!
Make sure it’s clear in advance if you want certain music or guided meditations during childbirth; additionally, consider alternative lighting elements like flameless candles as a way of creating more of an inviting atmosphere.
Finally, don’t forget about aromatherapy – incorporating essential oils into this special moment can make all the difference in how positively these memories will stay with both mom and baby forever!
Do You Want to be Free to Walk and Move Around During Labor?
Don’t wait until labor is upon you to start having conversations with your provider about what options are available for a comfortable and safe birth!
There will be certain pieces of equipment at the facility, such as birthing stools, balls or peanut bars; in addition – ask if they provide showers or tubs that can make your experience much more enjoyable. Knowing all this before coming into the hospital makes sure everyone’s on the same page by then.
Pain Management Preferences
Talk to your provider about what pain management options are available and make sure you include these preferences in your birth plan.
If pain medication isn’t something you’re interested in, be vocal so they can help find other techniques that work best for you – like massage or breathing exercises!
A lot of hospitals now offer nitrous oxide too which is also a great alternative if epidurals aren’t quite right for you.
No matter what path of birthing works best with this labor experience, it’s important to have an understanding with both yourself and those around you who will support your journey through the process.
Preferences for Your Birthing Position
Don’t forget to add your birth position preferences into the mix! Make sure you understand how these different positions and props (like birthing balls) work best, in case anything has changed or an epidural is necessary.
Have a contingency plan ready ahead of time because the best-laid plans can change!
When it’s time for your little one to enter the world, consider adding details about pushing positions that make you feel most comfortable and in control – from lying on your back or side to squatting, standing up, kneeling/on all fours – even being in a birthing tub if available!
There are several possible options so spend some time exploring them and seeing what you think will work best for you.
You may also want to add special touches like having a mirror present so you can watch the baby come into this life of yours or specifying who gets the honor of cutting the umbilical cord.
Don’t forget skin-to-skin after birth; there honestly isn’t anything quite as comforting (or beautiful!).
Birth Preferences for Postpartum Care
When filling in your personalized birth plan template, be sure to include anything that you know works well for you! That way, healthcare providers can make the best decisions about medications and other treatments.
You should think about issues like pain relief options or whatever else you may need to be comfortable.
Newborn Care Preferences
Congrats mama, you’re about to experience one of the most magical moments ever! The first hour after your baby’s birth is a special time and should be cherished.
Skin-to-skin for the first hour immediately following birth is recommended by experts like the American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, and World Health Organization. According to Medscape, “Hospital protocols can be modified to support uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth for both vaginal and cesarean births.” So, if that’s something you want to ensure happens, write it down.
Make sure you have conversations before delivering about:
- Skin-to-skin contact directly after birth
- Plans for breastfeeding or bottle feeding
- If you want a consult with a lactation specialist if you plan on nursing
- Use of a pacifier
- Administering antibiotic eye ointment
- Vitamin K Injection
- Hepatitis B vaccination
- Baby’s first bath
I recommend you contact the hospital or birth center to find out what their newborn procedures are. That will make filling out this portion of your plan less daunting.
Review Plans with Your Healthcare Provider
When exploring your birth options it is important to know that not every provider is supportive of doulas, water birth or not having continuous monitoring.
Your doctor or midwife may work out of different places, and some places may be a better fit for your needs and wants.
Before your due date, make sure to bring a copy of your birth plan to a prenatal care appointment to review your wishes with your provider. If these items are important to you, and your provider isn’t supportive, you may need another provider.
Also, ask yourself, if plans change what do you want to happen?
Consider Your Back-Up Options
If your labor is prolonged, at what point are you okay with being asked to change your mind on something you planned? If you did not plan a cesarean and end up having one, what will you want to be done? If the baby goes to the ICU or has to be away from mom, will you want your support person to stay with you or follow the baby?
Download Your Printable Birth Plan Checklist
To get a free copy of the Printable Birth Plan Checklist, just click on the image below to access the instant download.
Read Also: Printable Hospital Bag Checklist
Postpartum Must-Haves for New Moms
Diaper Bag Essentials Checklist
Final Thoughts on The Printable Birth Plan Checklist
As an expectant mom, you have so much to think about in preparation for your little one’s arrival. A birth plan is an important tool that helps ensure you and your baby experience the perfect birthing journey according to your wishes.
Birth plans are not concrete but they are important guides with the ultimate goal of ensuring your wishes are followed. Keep a copy with you, give one to your support person, and have one in your birth bag for your delivery nurse and medical team.
Writing it down on a Printable Birth Plan Checklist helps everyone involved stay on track during labor – making sure both of you get off to the best start possible!
Make sure to keep your written birth plan checklist in your hospital bag before your due date arrives so you are completely prepared. Congratulations!
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