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Pregnancy and baby

Your birth plan

Why make a birth plan?

A birth plan is a record of what you would like to happen during your labour and after the birth. You don't have to create a birth plan, but if you would like one your midwife will be able to help. You may also want to discuss some things with the baby's father, and your friends and relatives.

Before you start to fill in the birth plan below, get informed about the topics you’ll need to consider, such as pain relief, where you would like to give birth, who you would like to have with you, and how you feel about intervention such as forceps or ventouse (vacuum) delivery. To find out more about these topics to help you decide on your wishes for the birth, click on the following links:

Why making a birth plan is important

Where you can give birth

What happens during labour and delivery

Forceps and vacuum delivery

Caesarean section

Pain relief options during labour

Routine care that your baby will receive after birth

Saving your birth plan

In order to save your birth plan online, and come back to it later to make any changes, you need to be logged in to your NHS Choices account. You can log in or create an account by clicking the link below, or the link at the top right of your screen.

Saving your birth plan will not allow your midwife to access it online. You need to print your birth plan out to discuss it with your midwife.

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Please note that this page will time out at 30 minutes. This means that anything you write will be lost if you don’t save within 30 minutes of opening the page. You'll also need to save again within every 30 minutes, and before you leave this page.

If you are not registered for an NHS Choices account, you can save your birth plan to your desktop by clicking the "Print" button. Your answers will be saved in a PDF document. You won't be able to make any changes to the PDF.  

Blank birth plan

You can also print out a blank version of the birth plan that you can fill in by hand before completing your final version online. Simply click the "Print blank form" button.  


Log in or create a Choices account if you would like to save your birth plan. You can come back and change it as many times as you want.

If you don’t want to log in, you can complete the plan online and print it out for discussion with your midwife.

Your birth plan: facilities and birth companions hide

Where to give birth

You will have a choice about where to have your baby. Your midwife or doctor will be able to tell you what services are available locally and advise you on any issues to do with your health or pregnancy that may affect your choice.


Having a companion you can ‘lean on’ and who can support you during your labour can be helpful. It has been shown to reduce the need for pain relief.

Companions during a forceps or vacuum delivery

A forceps delivery is where forceps are placed around the baby’s head to pull him or her gently from the birth canal. Vacuum delivery, sometimes called ventouse, is when the baby is guided out using a cap fitted to its head by suction.  

Companions during a caesarean section

A caesarean section is when the baby is delivered by cutting through the abdomen and into the womb. This will only be performed when it is necessary, but there are situations where this is the safest option for either you or your baby. If your caesarean section is carried out under local anaesthetic and you are awake, your partner or companion may sit with you. 

Birthing equipment

You may find that items such as wall bars, mats or beanbags help you to change position and remain comfortable during labour. If you're giving birth in a maternity unit, your midwife will be able to tell you if specific items are normally available. However, you may need or prefer to provide some equipment yourself.

Special facilities

Some units may offer you special facilities such as a birthing pool. Some have special rooms called LDRP rooms (labour, delivery, recovery, postnatal rooms) where you stay in the same room until you leave the hospital. Your midwife will be able to tell you what’s available.

Your birth plan: labour and birth show

Monitoring during labour

Every baby is monitored throughout labour to make sure that it is not in distress. There are different ways of monitoring the baby’s heartbeat.

Keeping active during labour

Keep active for as long as you feel comfortable. This helps the progress of the birth. Keeping active doesn't mean doing anything strenuous, just moving around normally. 

Positions for labour and birth

Find the positions you prefer and which will make labour easier for you. Try out various positions at antenatal class or at home to find out which are the most comfortable for you. You can choose as many positions as you want and vary them throughout your labour.

Skin-to-skin contact with your baby

Immediately after the birth you can have your baby lifted straight onto you before the cord is cut so that you can be close to each other immediately. If you prefer, you can ask the midwife to wipe your baby and wrap him or her in a blanket first.

Midwives, nurses and doctors in training

Midwives, nurses and doctors need to observe women in labour as part of their training. They will always be supervised by a senior health professional.

Your birth plan: pain relief and medical care show

Pain relief options

There are many different pain relief options. Some women use a combination of methods. You may find that you want more pain relief than you had planned, or that more effective pain relief may be advised to assist with delivery. You can use a number of different methods at different times.

Having an episiotomy

An episiotomy is a cut in the perineum (the area between the vagina and anus). This may be necessary if the perineum won’t stretch enough and may tear, or if the baby is short of oxygen and needs to be delivered quickly. 

Delivering the placenta after the birth

After your baby is born your midwife will offer you an injection in your thigh. This contains the drug syntometrine or syntocinon which helps the womb contract and can prevent the heavy bleeding that some women may experience without it.

Your birth plan: your baby show

Feeding your baby

Breast milk is the best form of nutrition for babies as it provides all the nutrients a baby needs and has lasting benefits for the health of your child. Infant formula milk can be used as an alternative to breast milk. 

Vitamin K for your baby

Vitamin K is needed to make the blood clot properly. Some newborn babies have too little vitamin K so it may be suggested that your baby be given vitamin K either by injection or by mouth. 

Your birth plan: extra help show

Special requirements

If you have any special requirements, please tick any that apply to you. You can fill in more details in the box below. 

Your birth plan: general comments show

Print options and next steps

Prepare for discussion with your GP, midwife or consultant

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Your plan will be created as an Adobe Acrobat file.

download Adobe Acrobat reader here

Page last reviewed: 22/06/2015

Next review due: 22/06/2017


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