Content Map Terms

Writing Your Birth Plan or Birth Wishes


sleeping newborn baby holding mothers hand


Once you go into labour, you may not be able to control your surroundings.  

So many women write up a birth plan, also known as birth wishes, for healthcare providers and others to follow.

Your body has been carefully designed to deliver your baby safely, and most births go smoothly, without any medical interventions. Trust in your body to labour and give birth with the support of your healthcare provider and support team.Your birth wishes outline the things you would prefer to do or have happen during labour, birth and the days following. For example, you might want to walk as much as possible or not be offered pain medication unless you request it. Other examples include spelling out your preferences for birthing positions, or making arrangements to touch your baby's head during the birth.

Here are some examples of what you might want on your birth wishes list:

If things do not go the way we hope they do:

  • My support people will be my partner Tom, my mother Peggy, and my friend Heather. I would like them to stay with me during my labour and birth.

  • We would like to walk around during my labour and spend as much time in the shower as possible.

  • I would like to drink water and juice during labour. I do not want an intravenous unless it is necessary.

  • My goal is to avoid pain medications, except perhaps Entonox near birth, if I ask for it. I would really like your ideas and support for non-medical ways to manage pain.

  • Please help Tom in his efforts to help me.

  • We would like to have music playing during labour. We will bring our own music.

  • I would like to push squatting or semi-sitting when I have the urge, not with coaching.

  • We would like to have a mirror in place to see the birth.

  • I would rather have a small tear than an episiotomy and neither if possible.

  • After the birth, we would like to have the baby placed on my chest, skin-to-skin.

  • Tom would like to cut the umbilical cord.

  • I would like to breastfeed our baby as soon as possible after birth and continue breastfeeding on cue.

  • I know babies feed frequently at night and I want to feed on cue without supplements.

  • Help us breastfeed frequently and find ways to settle our baby.

  • If I am overwhelmed with visitors, help me remind them that I need to rest.

If I have a caesarean birth:

  • I would like to be awake and have Tom with me.
  • All other wishes for our baby would remain the same.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about your birth wishes during prenatal visits, and be aware that, for a number of reasons, it is not always possible for all your wishes to be followed.

Birth Wishes

  • Be flexible. During labour you may need to adjust your birth wishes.
  • Keep it simple - one page is easiest for everyone involved in your care to read.

Umbilical Cord blood Collection 

The blood from an umbilical cord contains stem cells, which can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. This blood can be banked and used for research purposes, or provided to another child who needs it, such as your baby’s sibling.  Arrangements for cord blood collection must be made long before the baby’s birth. Talk to your healthcare provider about this procedure.  You may want to add it to your birth plan.

Resources & Links: 

Download and fill in your own Birth Wishes Template

HealthLink BC: Umbilical Cord Blood Banking
HealthLink BC: Should I Bank My Baby's Umbilical Cord Blood?

Last Updated: August 12, 2013