Should I have a birth plan?

by Bailey K. Cannon, MD

We get this question a lot. You may have heard about birth plans from your friends, the internet, or even the hospital. What is a birth plan? It is a document that states your wishes for delivery. That sounds like a nice idea but when it comes to labor and delivery the only person who is in charge is the baby. Have you ever planned a family vacation and you have the great plan of how things will go, what restaurants you’ll eat at, and the sights you will see? Then only to find the roads are under construction, the restaurant you really want is closed, and the parks are closed for maintenance. You may still have had a great time but feel a little let down because “not every went as planned.” The same is true with birth and plans for it.

In our office we do not encourage birth plans. Our ONLY plan is for a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Additionally, a vaginal delivery is also always our first wish for you. We certainly care about your preferences and will discuss any ideas you may have. You are welcome to bring any music, scents, clothes, etc. that you would like. Additionally, during labor if there is a choice: we will always give you that choice. Such as: Would you like an epidural or not? That choice is 100% up to you – we are happy either way. We may use our medical education and training to suggest an intervention that we feel will help you, but as long as it is safe – you are welcome to decline. If ever you or the baby are in danger we will immediately make a medical decision and we hope you will agree.

While we do not encourage birth plans, should you desire a birth plan we will be happy to review it in the office and discuss what is reasonable or what things may be unsafe. There are many unsafe recommendations on the internet. We have included a birth plan from the March of Dimes that we think is a good choice in birth plans.

Our only plan for you is a healthy baby and healthy mom. We look forward to achieving this goal together.

Click on the following to see a sample birth plan:


About Mark Seigel, MD

I'm an ObGyn with offices in Rockville and Germantown, Maryland. Our modern practice includes electronic medical records, advanced ultrasound, and in-office procedures. We offer gynecologic services, as well as normal and high risk obstetrics. I have three great partners, Drs Emily Gottlieb, Jennifer Jagoe and Supriya Mishra. We are part of George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates. I enjoy reading, swimming, and blogging.
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