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Hospital Birth Plans

Have you thought about creating a birth plan to give to the hospital staff outlining your preferences for labor, birth, and immediately after? It may sound small and insignificant, but a birth plan can be a wonderful tool in labor. It can help you articulate your desires before labor begins, when you are clear headed and can discuss it with your partner and/or doula. A good rule of thumb for a birth plan is to not make it too wordy. For example:


  • Do not break my water

  • Intermittent monitoring

  • Delayed cord clamping

  • Immediate skin-to-skin

  • No pacifiers or formula


  • I would prefer if you did not break my water, as I want my labor to progress as naturally as possible.

  • I would like intermittent monitoring so I am free to move around the birth room and the hospital freely to help my labor progress.

  • I read that the cord should be cut only after it has stopped pulsing. Please wait until this has happened before clamping and having my partner cut the cord.

  • In an effort to bond effortlessly with my new baby, please allow me to have immediate skin-to-skin once he is born.

  • I want to establish a good breastfeeding relationship, so please do not offer my baby pacifiers or formula.

The difference in these two examples should be pretty clear. The most effective birth plans are quick, easy reads for your provider and the nurses at the hospital. If it is too lengthy, the staff may not want to read it, or may forget all that it said later on. Bring several copies of your birth plan with you to hand out to anyone who may interact with you during your stay at the hospital.

On a final note, it is important to remember that the hospital staff has standard protocols and procedures that they will follow on autopilot, unless otherwise specified. Women who go into labor without a birth plan, and without the knowledge and confidence ahead of time to use B.R.A.I.N (see prior blog post), might fall victim to a birth that they no longer have control over. At the end of the day, this is YOUR birth and you have a say in how it plays out. Use a birth plan to your advantage!

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