Your birth plan can cover anything about labour and birth that is important to you. This can include who you want to be with you, your pain relief options and whether you'd like to breastfeed straight after the birth or take some time to physically recover!

There's no right or wrong way to write a birth plan and no forms to fill out, scribble it down on a napkin or colour code your choices, whatever you decide and how you decide to do it, is completely down too you, after all it is your birth. If you are unsure you can go through it with your midwife, who will be able to make suggestions. If baby brain has gotten too you and your not sure, ask your birth partner or a friend to make some notes for you.

Things to think about

  1. Who will be with me during labour?
  2. Do I want to bring music or have the lights dimmed?
  3. Do I want to move around during labour if possible?
  4. Do I want to use any equipment, such as a TENS machine, gas and air or an exercise ball?
  5. Do I want to try being in water during labour?
  6. What other pain relief might I want? 
  7. How do I feel about medical help in the birth, such as forceps, ventouse and episiotomy?
  8. Do I want to try to breastfeed straight after the birth?
  9. Do I want to deliver the placenta naturally or have an injection to make it come away quickly?
  10. Do I want my baby to have vitamin K after birth?
  11. Do I want the baby to be delivered directly onto me at birth or would I prefer her/him to be wrapped in blankets before.
  12. Do you want the birth partner to cut the cord?

Once you've written your birth plan you should:

  1. Talk to your midwife about your birth plan and ask their advice about what you've written.
  2. Talk it through with your birth partner (or birth partners) and make sure they know that you might change your mind on the day!
  3. Have more than one copy so you can give one to your birth partner and another to the midwife.
  4. Prepare to be flexible if things change during your labour.
  5. Keep your birth plan short and clear so that medical staff can read it quickly if they are in a hurry.

Choosing your birth partner?

Having the right person with you when you have your baby can lower your stress levels, which may help reduce the pain you feel.

Your birth partner can be your partner, relative, friend or Joe Bloggs from cubicle number 5. It is 100% your personal choice. If you're having your baby in a hospital or birthing centre, there may be a limit on the number of people you can have in the labour room with you but your midwife should be able to answer this for you.

Whoever you choose to be your birth partner, make sure they know what's on your birth plan. Talk to them as well about ways you'd like them to help during labour and birth - rubbing your back during contractions and encouraging you with your breathing, for example.

It's fine to change your mind about your birth plan, its biro and paper, not a stone carving!

A birth plan is not carved in stone - it's about what you think you might prefer - the majority of birth plans don't go to plan come d-day anyway!

You might find on the day that you don't fancy a water birth or that you do want gas and air after all. (Pain relief is one thing lots of women change their minds about!!)

Nobody can tell you for sure that you'll have the birth you want or intact will have and no one knows how your labour will go. Your health your baby will always come first. However, your midwifes duty is to respect your wishes and plan as best she can.