Mother in hospital bed with newborn

Birth plans: delivery environment, pain management, and more

So you’re pregnant. Awesome! You’ve probably already been busy picking out names, toys, cribs, and everything else you’ll need for Baby. While preparing for after her arrival is important, it’s just as important to prepare for the delivery itself, and the best way to do that is with your birth plan.

What can be included?

Your birth plan should be short, and it should list your preferences for the most comfortable birth possible. Specifically, you should include:

  • How you want to go about each stage of delivery: Walking through the steps of delivery and outlining them for everyone involved in the birth will help ease your nerves about the big day and aid in a happy, healthy, birth.
  • How you’d prefer to handle pain: Every labor is different and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected, but it’s still important to weigh the many options for pain treatment available.
  • The type of environment you want: Baby’s first view of the world is all up to you and your partner, so consider how you want to set up the room where your baby makes her big debut.
  • Who you want there: To create the most comfortable environment possible, you should be specific with who will best help you to the finish line.
  • Baby’s treatment after birth: When you’re all sleepy, (totally cool, you worked hard!) you should leave a care list so everyone else can do some work for a change.
  • Postpartum care for you: Even though your top priority is Baby, don’t forget to take care of yourself too because a little pampering after birth never hurt anyone.

Even though your birth plan calls for your most comfortable experience, you need to consult anyone else who might be involved, so talk to your partner and health care provider before you start giving out your birthing plan. Together, you can come up with a birth plan that works for everyone, as some of your wishes may not be able to be accommodated by your healthcare provider. Most importantly, remember that the plan is only a guideline, and you should be open to changes if they’ll help the baby arrive in comfort and style.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Labor pain: Weigh your options for relief." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 6/13/2014. Web.
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