Author: Dr. Blair Green PT, DPT, OCS, PHC

Do you have a birth plan? The first time someone asked me, the answer was a resounding “no.” That was 18 years ago and I realize that pregnant women are now much stronger advocates for themselves. However, as a women’s health PT and a notorious planner, you would think I would have had every detail outlined from the day my pregnancy test showed “positive.”  My point here is don’t feel bad if you haven’t even thought about how you want that day to go. You may just be getting over morning sickness, you may have another child to attend to, you may still be in denial that the baby growing inside of you needs to somehow exit your body and enter the real world. 

Let’s talk about your birth plan and what it should include. For starters, why is it important to have your preferences and desires written down? If for no other reason, it’s a way to assertively communicate your needs to your birth team. Make sure everyone is on the same page. It helps avoid conflict and confusion. And it lets you be in charge of your body, to the best of your ability. This includes:

  • Positions to labor in
  • Position to push in
  • Birth setting (home, hospital, water birth)
  • Vaginal delivery v Cesarean 
  • Epidural?
  • Episiotomy? 
  • Who is present in the room during labor
  • Anything else that is important to you

You may also want to include a Plan B (and Plan C). As much as you want everything to go perfectly when the time comes, that is not always the case. It’s also easy to say be flexible and “go with the flow,” but the truth is that when that day comes, it’s really hard to give up that complete control. Recognize that things may not go 100% to plan. Do your best to advocate for yourself and speak up as to your needs and wants. Know your birth team is in your corner and is doing everything they can to stick to the plan. However, trust that when someone calls an audible, it’s for the health and safety of both you and your baby. Be aware of the alternatives. Write them down. Communicate your absolute “no unless emergency” list. And be ok with the Plan B. 

So, do you have a birth plan? If your answer is no, you may want to get to work. If your answer is yes, do you account for the unexpected? If not, take a moment to think about that. The best thing you can do to get ready for the big day is to be prepared, and this is one part of that.


Want help crafting your birth plan? Have questions? Want to learn more about how you can advocate for yourself during labor and delivery? Give us a call and set up a consultation with one of our pregnancy expert physical therapists.