When it All Goes to Plan

Aaah. The Birth Plan.

I admittedly have a complex relationship with this whole concept, given that my first birth plan would have been better used as bird cage lining than anything resembling an actual, it-will-happen-this-way “Plan.

But despite my endless joking about the topic, there most absolutely, most definitely some things that you can–and should–think about before you go into a hospital to deliver.

You know, simple things, like deciding who is going to hold a leg while you’re pushing.

…And I’m not just saying this because one day your husband will tease you relentlessly for having been strong-armed out of the way by your mother and never let you–or her–live that moment down.

Nope. I’m not talking about my husband. Just… husband.

So, yes… The Birth Plan! You’ve gotta love it for what it can bring to the table in terms of calm. Because trust me when I say there is nothing that is less calming than having to direct traffic and decide on an audience while a tiny person is trying to somersault his way out of your birth canal.

I’ve been there, done that, three times over now, and I will say this: Preparation matters! And because you can’t know how everything will go during your labor, it helps to control your surroundings as much as possible.

That’s why I’m so excited to partner with a group that knows a thing or two about planning your labor. Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies is all about, well, women and babies. And I love that they let moms plan all the things the can plan, before they check into the hospital.

But no matter where you’re delivering, you’ll want to keep reading. And trust me when I say, plan all you can now, because the baby is going to take over verrrrrrry soon.

On that note, let’s talk about some things you’ll probably want to consider in your birth plan!


Set the Mood

This one is big, because you have the ability to tailor your surroundings to help give you as positive a delivery as possible. Here are some things to think about:

  • Do you want the lights to be dimmed?
  • Do you want to listen to music on your headphones? [Editor’s Note: Music is great for drowning out the screams of the women laboring in rooms near you! That sound is… oh man… intense.]
  • Who do you want to be present during your active labor?
  • When do you want to decide on an epidural–beforehand, or after you’ve started experiencing contractions?

During Delivery

This is the part where you’re going to be most glad you’ve done some planning. Trust me: There is Nothing. In. The. World. That you will be thinking about other than, DearGodPleaseGetThisChildOutLikeNOW.

And so that you’re better able to focus on that refrain–or maybe even scream it out loud–consider these things beforehand!

  • Do you want to try to deliver in another position besides your back, if possible?
  • Do you want to delay cord clamping? If so, by 30 or 60 seconds?
  • Do you want immediate skin-to-skin contact with the baby after delivery?
  • Do you want your partner to cut the umbilical cord?
  • Do you want to have a mirror nearby to view your birth?
  • Do you want to feel the baby’s head as it crowns?
  • In the case of a C-section, do you want immediate skin-to-skin contact after delivery? And who is the one person who should accompany you into the procedure room?

After Baby Arrives

Good job, mama! Your baby is gorgeous, and you’re a warrior. Now here’s the fun part! You get to see that sweet face for the first time ever and soak in those first precious moments of being a mom. Take a mental picture because I promise, nothing else in life will ever feel as special.

But first, some things to think about planning for immediately after delivery:

  • Do you want to delay the baby’s newborn procedures for up to an hour?
  • What about baby’s first bath? How long, if at all, do you want to delay that? And who will be there for it–you, your partner, or both?
  • Do you want to try to exclusively breastfeed while in the hospital? If not, should the medical team consult you before offering baby formula or a pacifier?
  • If baby has to be taken for medical treatment, do you want to accompany him/her?

See? That wasn’t so hard! Now you’re going to head into labor, able to focus on what really matters–taking care of yourself and your baby.

Good luck, mama. You’ve got this!

(Oh, and strongly consider the epidural. Just saying.)


This post is generously sponsored by Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, who have the resources to help mamas-to-be in Central Florida plan for their best birth ever!

For more on how to plan your birth experience with Winnie Palmer and to download your own customizable copy of a birth plan, click here.

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