Are you in your third trimester? If you are, you might be feeling those little kicks getting harder, or finding it impossible to sleep on your back (though that ship probably sailed a while ago!). You might also be wondering about 'the big day' and how best to prepare for it.


A game-changer? Your birth plan.


Bringing a new life into the world is a momentous occasion filled with excitement, anticipation, and a touch of apprehension. As expectant mamas and partners prepare for the arrival of their little ones, one essential aspect often overlooked is the creation of a birth plan. 


In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the importance of a birth plan and its role in empowering you as a new mama. We’ll outline simple birth plan examples and provide you with a free customisable birth plan template expertly crafted by the Coco & Bundle team.


What’s inside?

  • What is a birth plan, anyway?
  • Why a birth plan matters
  • Download your FREE customisable birth plan template
  • Your birthing experience: Preferences to consider
  • Next steps: Once your plan is finalised
  • FAQs about successful birth planning

What is a birth plan, anyway?

A birth plan is a written document or plan outlining the preferences and desires of expectant parents for labour, delivery, and postpartum care. It serves as a communication tool between parents and their healthcare providers, ensuring that everyone is on the same page regarding the birthing process. 


From pain management options to newborn care preferences, a birth plan covers a wide range of considerations to tailor the birthing experience to your wishes.


Why a birth plan matters

Bith Plan Template downloadable

The significance of a birth plan extends beyond just a piece of paper. It's a means of advocating for your needs and desires during one of life's most significant events. By clearly articulating your preferences, you can feel more confident and in control during labour and delivery. 


A clear and effective birth plan also fosters open communication with your healthcare team, allowing for collaborative decision-making and a more positive birthing experience overall.


Create a plan, but try to stay flexible

It's important to note that birth and labour are unpredictable. We can aim to do everything 'by the book' and still encounter something unexpected.


Our advice? Try not to be disappointed if things don't go as exactly as planned. 


The most important thing is that you trust in yourself, your partner, and your team to deliver a healthy little babe, so set realistic expectations and try to be flexible within the parameters of your plan.


Download your FREE customisable birth plan template


At Coco & Bundle, we understand the importance of being able to actively participate in the decision-making process of your birth. Our founder, Zoe, is the first to attest to the power of a solid birth plan:

 

“I didn’t have a plan for my first birth. Nothing went the way I thought it would. I was anxious and felt powerless, like I had no control over what was happening. 


During my second pregnancy I took the time to create a birth plan with my highest hopes outlined, from the moment I went into labour right up until we’d be discharged. Funnily enough, it was a picture-perfect labour and birth! Less anxiety, more knowledge and power.”


That's why we've developed a complimentary birth plan template just for you, mama. Not only does it offer a structured format, but it also enables you to tailor it to your unique preferences and needs in areas like: 


  • Labour
  • Pain management
  • Your delivery room
  • Your birth process 
  • Newborn care
  • Assisting with visiting family members
  • ...and so much more.

If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of creating a plan like this, don’t worry; we’ve purposefully kept our birth plan template simple so as not to overload expecting parents, while still including all the most essential components. 


Related: Newborn Hospital Bag Checklist: Your Go-to Guide


Before you start, consider your hospital’s restrictions

Before you create your birth plan, consider consulting your obstetrician or midwife during your next appointment to inquire about any hospital-specific limitations or guidelines. 


Some hospitals may have restrictions on practices like aromatherapy or maternal-assisted delivery, for example. Armed with this knowledge, you can ensure your birth plan is relevant and effective. 


Now, you're all set to dive into the exciting part – creating your very own birth plan!


Your birthing experience: Preferences to consider

Birth plan template with a pregnant woman drinking hydramama

The most important thing when creating your birth plan is to focus on what you want. 


What are your non-negotiables for delivery? How do you want to navigate pain management during labour? Do you want to be discharged as soon as possible, or would you prefer to spend a little more time in hospital with nurse support?


Inside our downloadable template, you’ll find key points to consider within several main birthing areas: During Labour, Pain Management, During Birth, In Case of C-Section, After Birth, and helpful Extras.


So, let’s take a look at these simple birth plan examples to get you started on creating your own:


1. During Labour

Labour. The big ‘L’. The scary, daunting, how-long-will-this-pain-last aspect of birth that we know you’ll be feeling just a bit worried about.


While no amount of planning will make labour less painful, you can outline aspects of your labour that will make you feel more confident and in control. These tips are also very useful for your birth partner and team to help you through in the ways that you want.


Our birth plan template covers areas like:

  • Dim lighting
  • Soft music
  • Use of aromatherapy
  • Birth affirmations
  • Use of a birthing ball
  • Limited cervical checks if possible

2. Pain Management

Pain management during birth isn’t only limited to epidurals and medications; there are other things you can put in your birth plan that alert your team to preferred pain management methods.


Think about preferences like:

  • Medicated vs unmedicated birth
  • Use of a tens machine
  • Breathing techniques you’ll be practicing
  • Whether you need access to a bathtub or shower
  • Whether you’d like to be offered pain medication, or if you’d prefer the team does not offer it to you unless you ask

3. During Birth

Now for the big moment! Many women believe that the actual birthing process is out of their control. This is somewhat true, and your delivery doctor will take control of any situation that diverts from the plan.


However, you do have a say in some essentials that can make the experience much more suited to you, your body, and your little babe.


Consider things such as:

  • Whether you accept push and breath coaching
  • If you’d like to avoid the use of a vacuum and forceps
  • Your preference to deliver on all fours or in a different position
  • Whether or not you’d like an episiotomy or tear naturally
  • Alerting your delivery team that the sex of your baby is a surprise
  • If your partner would like to cut the cord, or if you’d both prefer a practitioner to do so

4. In Case of C-Section

Though it’s something many expecting parents would rather not think about, having a plan in place in case of a c-section (or cesarean) is essential for every birth. On the other hand, you might feel okay about the prospect of having a c-section.


To help alleviate any anxiety or fear surrounding this possibility, consider these key areas should your doctor recommend a surgical birth:

  • Whether you’d prefer to avoid a c-section if possible
  • If a c-section is medically necessary, you’d like to be informed why it needs to happen 
  • If you’d like the surgery to be explained step-by-step as it’s happening to provide you with peace of mind
  • If you’re unable for any reason, you’d like your partner to do immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby
  • Whether you’d prefer to breastfeed as soon as physically possible, or if you’re happy for doctors to recommend what’s safest for your body after surgery

Related: Choosing a c-section over a natural birth


5. After Birth

A mother with her newborn baby after birth

You did it, mama. The marathon is over, and you’re officially a warrior and a mother (though we like to think of these two as the same thing). 


Though you’ll be exhausted, there are some crucial after-birth steps to be done. This is where a birth plan comes in extremely handy, as your team will know your preferences and be able to guide you and your partner through according to your wishes.


Be sure to note down preferences like:

  • Immediate skin-to-skin following delivery
  • How soon you’d like to start breastfeeding (i.e. as soon as possible, or a little later is okay with you)
  • Having your baby’s medical exam done on your chest
  • Whether or not you consent to your newborn having a Vitamin K and Hepatitis shot

6. Extras

Finally, we’ve provided a few helpful extras in our birth plan template to ensure we’re covering all bases.


Inside your download, you’ll find the following considerations:

  • Your plans to breastfeed or pump
  • Your preferences for feeding your newborn on demand vs on a schedule
  • Whether you want minimal handling of your newborn by staff
  • If you consent to the newborn blood screening and/or hearing test
  • If you’d like to be discharged as soon as possible

Next steps: Once your plan is finalised

Bare Mum Postpartum Essentials

 

After personalising the template according to your preferences, be sure to print a copy for your OB or midwife to include in your patient file. Additionally, print a second copy to pack in your hospital bag for easy reference during labour and delivery.


If you’re feeling unsure about anything, it can help to schedule a dedicated appointment with your OB or midwife to discuss your birth plan. This can provide a good opportunity to refine it further in case you’re on the fence about anything, and to give you peace of mind knowing your team is on the same page as you (literally!).


Now your birth plan is created and your team is informed, you can rest a little easier knowing your preferences are accounted for. You’ve advocated for yourself, and that’s pretty impressive in our books!


FAQs about successful birth planning


How do I create a birth plan?

Creating a birth plan is as simple as downloading our customisable template and filling in your preferences, plus adding any extras you’d like that we haven’t included.


Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider and do your research to ensure that your plan aligns with best practices and hospital policies.


What should be included in a birth plan in Australia?

A birth plan in Australia should include preferences for labour, pain management, delivery, and postpartum care. 


It should also address any special considerations or concerns you may have regarding your birthing experience, such as how you'd like to navigate the possibility of a c-section.


When should I start writing my birth plan?

It's never too early to start thinking about your birth plan, but most experts recommend finalising it around the beginning of the third trimester. 


This allows plenty of time for discussion with your healthcare team and ensures that everyone is prepared for your birthing preferences.

Coco & Bundle

Coco & Bundle have curated a collection of products that will satisfy the needs of families who seek simple, neutral, and minimalistic designs in infant, child and mama items. We have carefully selected a range of products and brands that we believe will support you or your loved ones through the journey of pregnancy, postpartum and raising your little babes.

Latest Arrivals

Coming Soon
Silicone Gel Scar Strips

BARE MUM

Silicone Gel Scar Strips

Regular
$99.90
On Sale
$99.90
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Marshmallow Sky

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Cocoa Blend

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Peanut Blend

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Light Brown

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Cream Blend

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footless Tights | Granola

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footed Tights | Chocolate Brown

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footed Tights | Light Brown

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

SILLY SILAS

Footed Tights | Acorn Brown

Regular
$35.00
On Sale
$35.00
Regular
Coming Soon
Unit Price
per 

1 comment

  • Emily: July 09, 2024
    Author image

    What an extensive article! Love my template. Very easy to edit.

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing