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Labor and Childbirth: Thinking About a Birth Plan

A birth plan outlines your wishes for labor and birth. It helps your health care providers know what you want and expect. But be aware that labor is a series of changing conditions and your birth plan may need to change at the last minute. Work with your health care provider to create a plan that leaves room for the unexpected.

Your Support Team

Doctor having conversation with pregnant couple.

The team that helps you plan your childbirth may include:

  • Doctor. He or she gives prenatal care (care during your pregnancy) and delivers your baby.

  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM). This is a registered nurse or other health care professional trained to care for pregnant women and deliver babies.

  • Labor nurse. This is a nurse who assists during labor and birth.

  • Anesthesiologist. This health care provider can provide medicine for pain control if you need it.

  • Support person. This is a person who helps with your emotional and physical comfort during labor. It might be your partner, a family member, or a friend.

  • Labor coach or Doula. This person provides nonmedical advice and support.

Questions to Think About

Birth preparation classes can help you think about what to include in your birth plan. When making your plan, ask yourself:

  • What type of room will I give birth in?

  • Do I want to be able to walk around during labor and choose labor positions?

  • Who do I want for my support people? What will their roles be? Who will be with me in the delivery room?

  • What are my options for managing pain during labor and birth? How will medications for pain affect my baby and my labor?

  • What type of care and length of hospital stay will my health plan cover?

  • What options would I consider should unexpected circumstances develop?

  • If I had a cesarean in the past, is VBAC an option?


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