Your pregnancy and baby guide

How to make a birth plan

Making your 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.

Discussing a birth plan with your midwife will give you the chance to ask questions and find out more about what happens in labour. It also gives your midwife the chance to get to know you better and understand your feelings and priorities.

You can think about or discuss some things more fully with your partner, and your friends and relatives. Remember that you can change your mind about your wishes for labour and birth at any time.

Your personal circumstances

Your birth plan is personal to you. It depends on what you want, your medical history, your circumstances and what is available at your maternity service. What may be safe and practical for one pregnant woman may not be a good idea for another.

You might be given a special form for your birth plan, or there may be room in your notes. It's a good idea to keep a copy of your birth plan with you. The maternity team who care for you during labour will discuss it with you so they know what you want.

Be flexible

You need to be flexible and prepared to do things differently from your birth plan if complications arise with you or your baby, or if facilities such as a birth pool are not available. The maternity team will tell you what they advise in your particular circumstances. Don't hesitate to ask questions if you need to.

Things to consider

You can find out more about the things you need to think about when making a birth plan:

You can work out whether there's anything you feel strongly about and might wish to include. 

You and your partner can also think about what your birth partner can do to support you during labour.

Download a birth plan template

You can download a birth plan template to your desktop or laptop, fill it in and save.

Previously saved birth plan

If you have previously saved a birth plan on your NHS Choices account, you can access your saved birth plan here until 31 March 2018.

Page last reviewed: 22/06/2015
Next review due: 22/06/2018