A birth plan, sometimes referred to as birthing plan, is a blueprint of what choices you and your partner have made for the arrival of your child. It also helps your birth attendants support you during your labor and delivery in the best possible way. But where to even start? We want to make the task as easy and stress-free as possible, so we’ve created a great visual birth plan template for you to follow.

The Only Birth Plan Template You Need

A birth plan is a very important step to having the natural birth you want. A birth plan is about putting down your preferences, in black and white, before labor begins so that you are prepared for whatever events may arise and can make informed choices about your and baby’s care and safety. It also enables your birth team to access those choices without disrupting you during labor. (Be sure you’ve discussed your desires in detail with your birth team so that there are no surprises in labor!)

Here is a printable VISUAL birth plan just for you.  ➜  Click here for a PDF of this birth plan

Print it out and bring it to the hospital with you. It’s simple, respectful, and clear; perfect for getting your natural birth wishes across without causing eye rolling.

How to Personalize This Visual Birth Plan Template

➜ Click here for a customizable visual birth plan template (in MS Word format)

This customizable birth plan template also includes visual birth plan icons for:

  • No IV please
  • No membrane sweep
  • Food and drink for mama
  • No students please
  • Pitocin only if necessary
  • Gentle cesarean
  • VBAC
  • Delay eye ointment
  • No formula
  • No circumcision
  • Limited visitors
  • No pacifiers
  • Donating cord blood

Download a Customizable Version of This Visual Birth Plan

Do I Really Need a Birth Plan?

If you choose your birth space and attendants with care, you may not need to write down many of the things found in most birth plans.

For example, a good midwife won’t routinely break your water, do unnecessary vaginal exams or insist on continuous fetal monitoring. Furthermore, you may discover that many of your choices, like doulas in the birthing room or no mention of epidurals, are standard care with your chosen attendants.

If you’re delivering at a hospital, creating a birth plan is probably a good idea. Standards of care differ from hospital to hospital. Some hospitals will assume you are okay with various labor interventions that run counter to your wishes. In these cases, a birth plan can be very important.

Will Anyone Care About My Birth Plan?

It’s sad, but I’ve heard many stories of nurses laughing at birth plans or the women who write them; sometimes referring to these laboring moms as “high maintenance.”

Nurses especially hate birth plans that are perceived to be:

  • Overly detailed
  • Condescending or rude
  • Demanding, especially if without regard to extenuating circumstances and safety

To those nurses, women who write birth plans are inflexible, don’t understand the unpredictable nature of birth, and want a natural birth even if it costs her or her baby their safety or health. They believe that a birth plan just sets moms up for disappointment.

So What’s a Natural Mama to Do?

Three words: Keep it simple. With a straightforward, to-the-point birth plan template, healthcare providers are more likely to understand your preferences and take them seriously. This is a win-win for everyone, since a clear visual birth plan will also help you feel more comfortable in their hands.

Did You Use a Birth Plan?

Did it help you? Do you feel like hospital or birthing center staff paid attention to it? Share with us in the comments below!