Are you planning on having a natural (unmedicated) birth and looking for a natural birth plan template? Whether you are planning on giving birth in hospital, at home or at a birthing center, a birth plan is a must, and you’ve come to the right place – I have the perfect template for you!
I gave birth to my daughter vaginally and with no drugs at all thanks to hypnobirthing, and I remember how my hypnobirthing instructor emphasized the need for a birth plan, particularly when delivering in hospital. And I am so glad I listened to her.
I am also grateful that she gave me a sample template that I could use, so I am hoping to do the same for you here, and help you achieve a positive birth experience.
In this article, I will go through what a birth plan is exactly (there is a bit of confusion going around), if and when you need one, when you should get one ready and what you should include, depending on your wishes. You will then get the option to download a free and editable natural birth plan template (as a word document, plus a PDF if you prefer).
If you are already knowledgeable about all these things and want to skip to the free download, then feel free to scroll to the end of the post for the download link!
- 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
- How to Give Birth Naturally without Pain (17 Tips from a Mom who did it!)
- Hypnobirthing 101: the Hypnobirthing Basics for a Positive Birth Experience
What is a Birth Plan?
First thing first: what is exactly a birth plan?
Many expectant moms have this idea that a birth plan is a list of set rules of how their birth is going to plan out, and that the medical professionals involved in their birth should follow. However, birth is too unpredictable to give you guarantees and there can’t be set rules.
As much as you wish for a natural birth, you must also acknowledge the fact that birth doesn’t always go according to plan, and that complications may arise. Therefore you should always plan for different scenarios.
That said, a birth plan is more like a list of “birth preferences”: a list of things that you’d like to have or happen during your birth experience (before, during and after labor and delivery), or things that you’d prefer to avoid if possible. It doesn’t necessarily mean everything will go according to what’s written in it but, when you are in labor you won’t have time to discuss any of it with the medical team around you.
Having a birth plan allows you to share your wishes with all the doctors and nurses that will be taking care of you, so that they can support you during your labor and delivery in the best possible way.
Do you Have to Have a Birth Plan?
Absolutely – 100% – definitely – yes!
With a birth plan you get to have a say in what’s going to happen to you, your body and your baby. Decisions are not just made for you. And this is particularly crucial if you want to avoid any medical intervention because you wish to have a natural birth.
A birth plan also allows your birth team to have a look and confirm those choices without disrupting you during labor. This way you can just focus on your breathing!
This applies no matter where you are going to give birth. A birth plan is also important if you wish to give birth at home or at a birth center.
That said, make sure to discuss your preferences in detail with your birth team before going into full labor, and that they support your plan of having a natural birth. This is particularly true if you choose to have an OB (obstetrician) over a midwife as, in general, obstetricians tend to be less supportive of natural births.
Note that if you buy a pregnancy planner, 90% of the times a birth plan template is included in the planner, so that’s something to consider if you are looking for a more comprehensive set of tools to help you stay organized during pregnancy and prepare for birth and postpartum.
When should you Make a Birth Plan?
You should start thinking about your own birth plan and what kind of birth your wish for from the beginning of your second trimester of pregnancy. However, you don’t really need to get it ready until you are about 32-36 weeks and approaching full term. Don’t wait until the very last minute and the first signs of labor!
Like I mentioned before, make sure to discuss your preferences with your health care provider first, to make sure that they are happy with it and that it’s safe for you to have the birth you desire. Once the birth plan is finalized and ready, make sure it becomes part of your medical records, so that it will automatically be sent to your hospital or birthing center, and print multiple copies to add to your hospital bag.
- 15 Signs that Labor is 24 to 48 Hours Away
- The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist (with FREE Printable)
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Another important thing to consider if you are willing to have a natural unmedicated birth is hiring a doula.
A birth doula is a trained professional who provides emotional and physical support before, during and after birth. While a doula doesn’t have medical training like an OB or a midwife, she will still be able to help you with different techniques on how to cope with labor pain, advice on labor positions, and so on (take a look at our article on types of contraction simulator).
But, most importantly, a doula will also act as an advocate for your birth plan and birth wishes when dealing with hospital staff, making sure that you get the birth that you’ve always wanted and that you deserve.
Other things to keep in mind and that will help when writing your own natural birth plan:
- Make it concise and not too long. Medical professionals don’t have the patience or time to go through pages of your birth preferences! Most people recommend just a one-page birth plan, but I think two pages is reasonable as well. I’d rather make it clear and readable with two pages, than having a one page where I can hardly read what’s in it.
- Use bullet points.
- Make sure your partner (whether husband, wife, or other birth partner) is also aware of your birth preferences, so they can advocate for you.
What goes into a Natural Birth Plan
So, what actually goes into a natural birth plan? And what have I included in the natural birth plan template available here?
Like I mentioned before, a birth plan consists of a list of things that you’d like to have or happen before, during and after labor and delivery, so it’s usually divided in 3 different sections: pre-labor (including induction preferences), labor and delivery, and postpartum. Some birth plans also include a section specific for baby, such as what you want to feed them, whether you want anyone to bath them, etc.
The extra section for baby tends to make the birth plan a little bit longer, so up to you whether you want to keep it or not. Like for everything else in this natural birth plan template, I have included a lot of preferences – it’s then up to you to decide what you want to keep or discard, or what you want to add. It’s called template and not finished birth plan for a reason 🙂
This is what’s included in details for each section:
Pre-labor consists of the early signs before labor starts: it means that the body is preparing for real labor, but it’s not quite there yet. It usually consists of irregular uterine tightening or contractions which soften and thin the cervix.
The key difference between pre-labor and early labor though is that pre-labor does not progress. When pre-labor contractions begin to change and start getting closer together, then the body enters actual labor.
I would recommend you stayed at home during this phase, and only get to hospital when labor actually starts. However, I understand that depending on which country you live in or on your healthcare provider, you might be asked to get to hospital already. If that is your case, know that this is a phase where many women are offered (or request) a medical induction to speed things up and kick start labor.
With a medical induction, your doctor or midwife will stimulate uterine contractions before labor begins on its own. There are various methods in which this can be done: either by giving you medicines (by mouth, vaginally or intravenously), by separating the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus (stripping or sweeping of the membranes), or by breaking your waters.
However, if you wish to have a natural birth, a medical labor induction has some risks associated, such as a higher risk of infection, contractions coming too close together (which will lower your baby’s heart rate), a higher risk of serious bleeding after birth, etc. Medically induced labor is also usually more painful than natural labor because uterine contractions are quicker and much stronger. So, if you are planning on having a natural birth without epidural, you might want to give a medical induction a second thought.
That said, there are several natural ways to induce labor that are not invasive at all and, usually, the worst that can happen is that they don’t work and you just keep waiting for the signs that labor is going to start soon. So, you might want to give these a try!
- 10 of the Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight (with Stories from Real Moms)
- 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
Here’s what’s included in the pre-labor section of my printable birth plan template.
- No induction unless there is a medical urgency.
I would recommend avoiding an induction (whether medical or natural) unless there is a real medical urgency (i.e. your baby is distress) and let nature take its course.
- If induction is necessary, try natural methods first.
There are some instances when an induction starts to become a necessity. For example, after 42 weeks, the placenta may not work as well as it did earlier in pregnancy and can no longer provide enough oxygen and nutrients for your baby, plus there is a greater risk of your baby dying before or shortly after they are born. So, if you are past your 42-weeks mark, there are lots of natural ways to induce labor overnight that you can try first, before getting a medical induction.
- I prefer my water to break on its own.
This point is closely related to the previous one, but I left it separate because this is an induction method that’s often offered to women, and there’s this false assumption that if your water breaks, then labor has to start. However, having your healthcare provider rupturing the bag of waters does not guarantee labor will start soon at all. Plus, it can have side effects such as increased pain, more intense contractions, and an increased risk of infection.
- No vaginal exams until I go into labor
Once you get to hospital or your birthing center, if you are still in pre-labor you are very likely to have checkups where your doctor will check your cervix to see how dilated it is. And cervical dilation of at least 2 to 3 centimeters often indicates that labor is approaching.
However, this is not always the case, and I’d like to point out that these cervical checks have some risks that are not always disclosed to pregnant women. In fact, they may increase the risk of vaginal infection or could possibly result in the premature rupture of membranes.
Not to mention they are not necessary: they are mainly just a progress report of how your cervix is doing! So, I don’t think they are worth the risk just to find out how dilated you are, with no guarantee of finding out when labor is going to start.
Labor & Delivery
This is the critical part of your natural birth plan, as most of the times you are already in full labor by the time you get to hospital or your birthing center, and you’ll be in so much pain or so concentrated on your breathing that you will probably not be able to discuss these things with the medical staff.
Starting with the environment in which you are giving birth, know that the more your body is relaxed, the more your will be able to birth “with ease”. And for your body to be relaxed (as much as possible, given the circumstances), it’s very important not to have too much noise around, to many bright lights or too much interruption.
So, here’s my suggestions in the natural birth plan template.
- Quiet room / dim lights / minimal interruptions
Hospital can get quite busy, with lots of people coming in and going out, not to mention bright lights! Turn as many lights as you can off, or dim them if you can and ask not to be interrupted too often.
I really found that I could concentrate way more easily on my breathing, and therefore be in way less pain, if I didn’t have people talking to me or asking me questions. Even when I was still at home, before getting to hospital, I spent most of the time in the bedroom with the lights off while my wife spent time with our older daughter, so I could concentrate on all the hypnobirthing techniques I had learnt.
There are several studies that confirm how using aromatherapy during labor can help manage pain and manage anxiety and, as a result, create a greater satisfaction with the childbirth experience. So, if you are hoping for a natural birth and exploring some pain management techniques, have a look into it.
This is actually included in my tips on how to have a pain free birth experience as well!
- Music or sound paying
Relaxing music or sound playing in the background can also help your body relax. I spent most of my laboring time (including my car trip to the hospital!) listening to relaxation music and birth affirmations from my hypnobirthing app!
- No students / Interns observing
This last point is particularly important if you’re going to give birth at a teaching hospital. If that is the case, you may have students or inters observing your birth or even performing medical procedures.
I personally didn’t mind the idea, as long as they kept quiet in the room. However, if you prefer not to have anyone else in the room, feel free to add this point to your natural birth plan to let the staff know so they can respect your wish.
- I’d like as few vaginal exams as possible
Vaginal examinations during labor aim to reassure both the laboring woman and the medical staff that labor is progressing as supposed to, and to provide early warnings if that is not the case. However, these can be uncomfortable and painful. Not to mention, there is no evidence that frequent cervical exams during labor have any benefit, particularly if you are already in hospital where the staff can react very quick in case something is not quite right.
So, I would opt for as few vaginal exams as possible to avoid any disruption to your peaceful environment and to avoid the discomfort. Not to mention that too many exams might increase your anxiety (if you are not progressing as fast as you wish), which only has the negative effect of slowing labor down.
- Please do not offer epidural / pain medication – I will request it if needed
If you are going into labor with the mindset of having a natural and unmedicated birth, then make sure to include this in your natural birth plan. You definitely don’t want to have medical staff constantly asking if you need pain medication – you know your limit and will tell them if you can’t take it anymore.
If you are very scared of the pain and don’t know if you are going to tolerate it, I strongly encourage you to look into hypnobirthing. The philosophy behind it is mind blowing and will totally make sense to you when you start reading about it. I had the most amazing birth thanks to it, and you can read my birth story here.
- No IV
Be mindful of the fact that an IV will really limit your ability to move freely during labor, so avoid one if you can. Walking is one think that definitely helps speed things up so you can have a shorter labor, and it can even help ease the pain.
Definitely one of my best tips for having a birth without epidural, and you should really take advantage of this during the first stage of labor as, once you transition and feel the need to start pushing, you won’t be able to walk at all!
- I am open to Nitrous Oxide
Of all the pain relief options available during birth, this is the one that I was open to in case I wasn’t going to cope with the pain. I never ended up needing it or using it, but I had it in my birth plan and have included it in this free editable birth plan template in case you also want it there.
The advantage of nitrous oxide (also called ‘laughing gas’) is that it doesn’t not limit mobility, slow labor or cause significant risk to the baby. It has a quick onset after it is inhaled and leaves the system quickly once its use is discontinued, plus you administer it yourself so you have total control over it.
Nitrous oxide does not completely eliminate pain, but it can help reduce it and, most importantly, it can help lessen your anxiety and relax. So, it is a very good option for women who are prone to anxiety or want the ability to move around during labor.
- Movement / walking
Like I mentioned before, walking is one think that definitely helps speed things up and eases the pain, so make sure to use this from the printable birth plan template.
- Birthing ball
I personally never managed to use a birthing ball during labor, despite trying multiple times. It never really felt comfortable for me, and it felt like sitting down was slowing down my labor instead of speeding it up, so I gave up. However, if you end up finding it comfortable to use it during labor, whether you are sitting or kneeling on it, using a birthing ball has its advantages.
According to Healthline, sitting on the ball in an upright position encourages the opening of your pelvic muscles, helping baby’s descent, and it can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as labor pain.
If you want to achieve a birth without an epidural or even a pain free birth, I would also recommend you look into getting a massage by your partner or by another support person during labor. In fact, there is evidence that massage during the first stage of labor can decrease pain and can help you relax, thus making the laboring process much easier.
You can find a video of some massage techniques here.
- Shower / tub
Having a water birth has many benefits for the laboring mom, such as: decrease labor pain, shorter labor, reduced chances of perineal trauma or of an episiotomy, it helps relax your body. And if you don’t want a water birth, even getting in the shower under some running water can really help you relax.
I actually really wanted to have a water birth, but unfortunately I never made it to the tub. But if you do get a chance, really consider getting in the water during labor and add this to your natural birth plan.
One piece of advice I was given about water births though, is to wait to get in the water until your contractions are quite frequent and regular. Otherwise, if you get in the water too early, you risk getting too relaxed and this will slow down your labor instead of making it progress faster!
- Visualization / breathing techniques
Visualization and breathing techniques can both be very powerful when giving birth and can really help achieve a natural and unmedicated birth. While visualization techniques can really create acceptance, belief and confidence in achieving the birth that you’ve always imagined, proper breathing during labor allows your body to relax and send more oxygen down your uterus.
I really encourage you to look into these if you want a natural birth and to add these to your birth plan. Particularly if you wish to follow specific breathing techniques (like the ones from Lamaze or hypnobirthing), that go against what medical professionals usually like to instruct laboring women to do.
If you enroll in a hypnobirthing course, you will learn a few different visualization and breathing techniques to help cope with labor, or you can read more about the hypnobirthing breathing techniques here.
- Hypnobirthing Breathing Techniques (All you need to know!)
- 5 of the Best Hypnobirthing Online Classes
- Positive birth affirmations
Last but not least for the comfort measures, you may want to add that you’ll be using positive birth affirmations. You might prefer to listen to them or have a look at some birth affirmation cards spread around the room – the choice is yours.
These are positive statements about the expecting or laboring mom, their baby and their birthing process and, through repetition, they can turn any negative thought that you may have about giving birth into a positive one. This will reduce any stress and anxiety, and boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. As a consequence, your body will follow by relaxing and birthing more easily, thus dramatically reducing any labor pain.
Your can find 50 Positive Birth Affirmations here, including FREE printable cards.
- Minimal, intermittent fetal monitoring to allow for mobility
Similar to an IV, having a fetal monitor attached to you can really limit your ability to move freely. So, if you can, keep this in your natural birth plan from the template so that the medical staff knows not to keep it on you the whole time.
However, different hospitals and different countries have different policies about this. Plus, depending on your situation, it may be critical to be monitoring your baby the whole time. So, make sure to find out what the policies are where you are giving birth and be prepared.
I was lucky enough that in New Zealand they don’t use it unless there is a medical issue and some concerns. So, I never had it on me.
- Push as my body feels need
This sentence is probably more geared towards someone that has taken or is planning on taking a hypnobirthing course. In fact, one of the concept of hypnobirthing is that you definitely don’t need someone to tell you when to push: your body knows exactly when the time comes and, theoretically, you don’t ‘push‘ your baby out, instead you ‘breathe‘ them out.
Now, I don’t totally agree with ‘breathing’ baby out, as I personally still felt a very strong urge to push when the time came for me. However, I definitely didn’t need anyone to tell me when to do it or how to do it. It was like I was totally in sync with my body, and my body knew exactly what to do it and when to do it.
If you don’t plan on taking a hypnobirthing course and still wish for someone to coach you through the final pushing phase of labor , then feel free to take this one off and stick with the sentence below.
- Be coached through pushing
As per what I have written above, keep this one in your natural birth template if you want someone to help during the last stage of labor.
- Push in a position that feels comfortable to me
I honestly could not believe this when I learnt it in one of my birthing classes, but did you know that the classical birthing position that you see in movies, with a woman lying down on a table and legs up in the air, is actually the worst birthing position you can possibly choose to give birth to a baby naturally!? So don’t let any medical staff tell you how to sit or lay down during labor!
Lying on your back when giving birth narrows the pelvic outlet and increases your chances of a prolonged labor, of having an episiotomy, a vacuum delivery or the use of forceps. It can also cause a reduced blood flow to the baby because of compression of major blood vessels located down your back, which can result in having a c-section.
On the other hand, other positions such as standing, sitting or squatting, use gravity to facilitate the downward movement of your baby. Squatting in particular can increase the size of the pelvis, providing more room for your baby to descend down the birth canal. I ended up giving birth standing up and my baby came out on a pillow on the hospital floor!
You can have a look at different positions below and start trying them out to see what feels comfortable to you and what doesn’t. Though be aware that what feels comfortable before labor, might not feel comfortable when you are pushing baby out!
- No episiotomy unless necessary – I would prefer a natural tear
A natural tear is definitely preferable to an episiotomy, with less risk of infection, blood loss, perineal pain and incontinence, as well as faster healing. What’s more, episiotomies are more likely than natural tears to result in third- or fourth-degree perineal tears, where the tear passes through to the rectum. These take longer to heal and sometimes cause fecal incontinence.
So, if I were you, I would keep this in your birth plan.
- Mirror to see baby’s head
I personally never used a mirror during labor. Instead, I spent most of my time pushing in hospital with my eyes closed and focusing on my breathing. However, many women who have a natural birth find it useful to see their progress when they push and gives them an extra confidence kick that they can do it.
Up to you if you want to give it a try or not. But, if you do (and you don’t have your own one), make sure that the medical staff knows in advance so that they can source one for you. Some midwives travel with one, but not all of them.
- No forceps or vacuum
The use of forceps or vacuum during delivery isn’t used very often anymore. However, if your physician opts for this kind of delivery, they need your consent and, to avoid making a stressful decision during pregnancy, best to think about this in advance and add it to your natural birth plan.
Both the forceps and vacuum methods work by guiding baby out of the birth canal during delivery, and they have the main advantage of trying an operative vaginal delivery instead of ending up having a c-section. That said, there are several possible risks associated with them, such as: increased chances of tearing, short-term urinary incontinence and increased blood loss for the mother; or facial injuries, bleeding and skull fracture for baby.
If a C-Section is Necessary
- Gentle Cesarean if possible
A gentle c-section differs from a normal cesaren because it offers an experience that’s as close as possible to a vaginal delivery so, if something goes wrong during your natural birth, this is a good alternative to the traditional c-section. While it’s still a surgery, there are certain things that the medical staff can do to make the experience less clinical and more intimate, such as: dim lights, immediate skin-to-skin after delivery, less restrictive equipment, etc.
You can read some positive birth stories of gentle cesarean births here.
- Vaginal seeding
This is a practice where your doctor places gauze swabs in your vagina during the c-section and then rubs them on baby’s face once they are born. This is to give your baby all the same bacteria that they would pass through during a vaginal birth.
- Partner to conduct immediate skin-to-skin if I am unable to
In the case that you are unable to have your baby on you for skin-to-skin contact straight away, you can still have your partner to do the skin-to-skin instead of you.
- Baby and mom to be reunited as soon as possible
Of course, ask for your baby to be given to you as soon as possible! When my wife gave birth via c-section to our first daugther, she was placed straight away on her chest until they finished stitching her up. She was then given to me for a while.
- Epidural or spinal block to be administered
If having an emergency c-section, it’s good to have this as a preference, at least you will be awake during the procedure and only the lower half of your body will be numb. However, know that in case of an emergency, a general anesthesia is sometimes needed.
Immediately after Birth
- Quiet environment and dim lights
The last thing you want after having just given birth is to have a lot of noise in the room and bright lights. Enjoy these precious moments to bond with your baby, smell the skin of your miracle newborn, be the first one to talk to them and nurse them. Everything that’s not strictly urgent during the so called “golden hour” can wait!
I held my baby for quite a while before they took her for any testing and any medical staff started asking me routine questions. She was able to lie on me and nurse quietly while I got some stitches and it was all just perfect.
- Please hold off on any tests, weighing, etc. until after the golden hour and after baby has successfully nursed
This is probably implied in the point above, but better make it very clear that you don’t want anything to happen to your baby until you’ve successfully bonded with them and nursed them for the first time.
- Please place baby on my chest immediately for skin-to-skin contact
Skin-to-skin immediately after birth has so many benefits, including the lowering of both mom’s and baby’s stress levels and facilitation of breastfeeding. Most hospital and birthing centers do this automatically now, but make sure to keep this from the natural birth plan template just in case!
- Do not wipe baby down
When babies are born, their skin is covered in white clumps or patches called vernix careosa. This coating on baby’s skin has actually got a few benefits if left on baby’s skin, such as: helping baby to retain moisture and stave off bacterial infections or helping baby latch on. So it’s best to leave it on baby for as long as possible.
Wiping down babies straight after delivery used to be common practice in the past and, while things have changed lately, there are still some nurses that might do it automatically unless they are advised not to. So, make sure to have this information in your birth plan.
Delivery of Placenta
- No Pitocin – please allow the placenta to deliver on its own
Some doctors like to give Pitocin after delivery to speed up the delivery of the placenta. However, unless there is a medical reason for it (if you are bleeding heavily for example), there is absolutely no rush and no point.
You have done all the hard work to bring a baby into this world with a natural and unmedicated birth, you can definitely birth the placenta!
- Save the placenta
There’s many things that women might decide to do with the placenta after giving birth, such as burying it, eating it, donating it, etc. I personally didn’t feel the need to do anything with it but, if you do, keep it from this natural birth plan tempalate.
Most doctors will usually ask instead of just discarding of it, but you never know.
- Delayed Cord Clamping – My partner will cut the cord after it stops pulsating and turns white
I had to insist very hard for this one with my doctors. Here in New Zealand they were all convinced that just a few extra seconds are enough and that you don’t need to wait until it stops pulsating and turns white … like a few extra minutes were going to change their lives!
Even though you can ask for this one when having a c-section as well, we felt too pressured to cut it earlier when my first daughter was born, and were only able to wait the whole time after my vaginal delivery with our second daughter.
The main benefit is that your baby will receive extra blood and iron from the placenta, which can be particularly beneficial for preterm babies.
- No Hepatitis B vaccine
Medical groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that every
baby gets the hepatitis B vaccine within the first 24 hours of birth. However, you can refuse it if you wish.
In New Zealand it’s a bit different than in the U.S.: women are tested for Hep B when pregnant and, only if positive, their baby will receive the short shortly after birth. Otherwise, they will get the immunization shot at their routine appointment at 6 weeks old.
I personally wouldn’t want my baby to be vaccinated straight after birth unless I was Hep B positive and my baby had a greater risk of contracting the virus.
- Antibiotic eye treatment only if tested positive and necessary
Some hospitals, particularly in the U.S., put an antibiotic eye ointment in the eyes of newborn babies to prevent eye infection from gonorrhea and clamydia. However, if you got tested while still pregnant and resulted negative, there’s no reason why your baby should receive the treatment.
As a matter of fact, applying the ointment on baby’s eyes could blur their vision and, as a consequence, affect their bonding and ability to breastfeed successfully.
Be mindful that eye treatment is mandatory in some U.S. states and you can’t refuse it.
- Vitamin K shot
All babies are born with low levels of vitamin K in their bodies and a vitamin K shot at birth helps prevent clot and serious bleeding. In fact, infants are at risk of getting a rare bleeding disorder called VKDS (vitamin K deficiency bleeding) or HDN (haemorrhagic disease of the newborn) if not given a boost of vitamin K.
The shot provides the best protection, however you can also opt for oral drops. If that’s the case, your baby will need to have one dose at birth and 2 more doses in the following weeks.
Our daughters both got the shot straight after birth and I was quite happy with that choice. However, feel free to modify my natural birth plan template with your preferred choice.
- Circumcision (if applicable)
You can take this off if not applicable.
- Do not separate baby and mother
Babies traditionally go to a nursery after birth, so that nurses can monitor them for a period of time and mom can get some rest. However, this practice is slowly disappearing across multiple hospitals across the world. In New Zealand it doesn’t happen at all, no matter where you give birth, and babies are left to bond with their new parents the whole time.
I would suggest you do your research and find out what happens in the hospital where you are planning on giving birth and, if they have a nursery, make sure to include this point in your birth plan.
- Please do not bathe baby
This is for the same reason as to why no one should wipe baby down straight after delivery. The World Health Organization (WHO) actually recommends waiting at least six hours but, if you can go a full 24 hours, even better.
I actually didn’t bathe my second daughter for about 48 hours after birth!
- I plan to breastfeed exclusively
If you are planning on breastfeeding exclusively, keep this from the printable birth plan template. Hopefully you will also get some help from one of the nurses or from your midwife on how to get your baby to latch properly.
- NO formula, sugar water, bottles or pacifiers
Be absolutely clear about this, particularly if you are planning on breastfeeding! Pacifiers can interfere with breastfeeding if given very early after birth.
- I would like to meet with a lactation consultants
Some hospitals have lactation consultants that you can meet with after birth and that can help with breastfeeding, which can be particularly helpful if it’s your first baby. Believe it or not, breastfeeding can be excruciating if not done right, and it doesn’t come as naturally as most people think!
I personally experienced very sore nipple when breastfeeding my daughter, and I am forever thankful for what my lactation consultant taught me! Going back, I wish I had taken a breastfeeding course while still pregnant, but I was lucky enough to find an amazing lactation consultant afterwards.
- Sore Nipples While Breastfeeding?! 15 Tips that Saved Me!
- 20+ Best Online Breastfeeding Courses (FREE Classes too!)
Finally, this section only needs to be added if applicable.
- No sugar water – pacifier is okay only during the procedure
Sugar water is often given to babies during a circumcision to calm them down. However, if you prefer for your baby not to have it, you can opt for just a pacifier to soothe them.
FREE Natural Birth Plan Template
Here’s my free natural birth plan template, including a printable word document and pdf. You can either modify the word document before printing it, or you can cross things out from the pdf.
Please note that this is an example only. This form is to be used as a template for you to modify and customize after consulting with your doctor. This is not intended to serve as medical advice or to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any illness or disease or to recommend any course of action.
Natural Birth Plan Template: Final Thoughts
Here it is mama, all my information and suggestions about what you should be including in your natural birth plan, including my free downloadable printable. I really hope you’ve found this information useful and please let me know if there’s something that you think is missing and that you think I should add for other moms.
Giving birth can be one of the most empowering and amazing experiences in a woman’s life, and when it happens you definitely don’t want to worry about whether people are going to respect your wishes or not. So be prepared!
If you are approaching your due date, I would also strongly recommend you take a prenatal or birthing class (it doesn’t have to be hypnobirthing): having a good understand of what happens during birth can be really empowering and take a lot of the stress and anxiety away. Plus, during these classes, they usually give lots of tips and information on what to do during the first few weeks with a newborn after birth.
I have collected here a list of the best online birthing classes (including a free class). Whereas if you want to enroll in a hypnobirthing course, have a look at these online classes or my free hypnobirthing introductory course. If you also want to take a breastfeeding course, there are lots of online courses here (including several free ones).
For more tips on how to have a natural and unmedicated birth:
- 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
- How to Give Birth Naturally without Pain (17 Tips from a Mom who did it!)
- How to Achieve a Confident Birth
- Perineal Massage during Pregnancy: increasing your chances of an Easier Labor
- The Most Powerful Birth Affirmations for a Positive Birth Experience
For tips and information on how to survive pregnancy:
- 8 Tips for Coping with Anxiety During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Survival Kit (30+ Essentials for Mom & Dad)
- 20+ Fun & Creative Things to do while Pregnant
- Best Pregnancy & Antenatal Exercises safe for all Trimesters (and for easier labor!)
- 20+ Remedies for Heartburn during Pregnancy (and Tips on how to prevent it)
For tips and information on how to prepare for postpartum:
- 12 Must-Have Clothes for After Delivery in Hospital
- Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (with all Essentials!)
- What to REALLY expect with your Postpartum Recovery
- Best Postpartum Pads (for Bleeding & a Quick Recovery!)
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