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Community Questions - What's a Birth Plan?

"I'm 30 weeks and my friends have said that I need to make a birth plan, what is it? Do I need to do one?"


At Carol, we prefer to refer to use the term 'Birth Preferences' over the term 'birth plan' because you never really know how your birth will go and it also takes the pressure off you if things were to move in a different direction during birth and 'falling off the plan' as opposed to having birth preferences which are more 'would rathers' and allow for more flexibility. Whether you want to create birth preferences is ultimately up to you or not, some of us at Carol did write down our birth preferences, and some of us chose not to - it's totally up to you!


Birth Preferences are a straight forward way to explain to your health care team what kind of labour you would prefer, what you would like an ideal outcome of certain scenarios to be and what you would rather avoid. Birth is entirely personal and so your preferences are likely to be be entirely different to others - it depends on a number of factors including your medical history, what you want and what the options are available to you at the maternity service you will be using.


We would recommend speaking to your midwife about any questions you have about your birth preferences, and can help you create yours if you would like guidance. There are some great free templates available online that you may find useful:



You can write your birth preferences on a piece of paper, they don't need to be on a specific template, but these do give good pointers about what to talk to when writing them.

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