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Labor and Childbirth: Thinking About a Birth Plan


A birth plan is an outline of your wishes for your labor and birth. This plan helps your healthcare providers know what you want and expect. But be aware that labor is a series of changing conditions. Work with your healthcare provider to create a plan that leaves room for the unexpected.

Your Support Team

People who assist you in planning and during childbirth may include:

  • An obstetrician or other physician who provides prenatal care (care during your pregnancy) and delivers your baby.
  • certified nurse-midwife (CNM), a registered nurse or other medical professional trained to care for pregnant women and deliver babies.
  • labor nurse, who assists during labor and birth.
  • An anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist, who can provide anesthesia for pain control if you need it.
  • support person, such as your partner, a relative, or a friend, who helps with your emotional and physical comfort during labor.
  • An experienced labor coach, who 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?
  • If I had a cesarean in the past, is VBAC an option?
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