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Third Trimester

Q&A: Do I Need A Birth Plan?

Do I need a birth plan? What's the point of having one?

A "birth plan" is just that — a game-plan for baby's arrival. You can never be totally in charge of your labor and delivery (childbirth is generally a pretty out-of-control thing), but a birth plan ensures you and your partner are on the same page as your doctors and nurses when it comes to issues like pain meds, people allowed in the delivery room, episiotomies and cord cutting.

How it works: Document your wishes, talk them over with your doctor, make sure they fit in with hospital policies, and then see to it that you, your doctor and the hospital each have a copy. Keep in mind there might be some things on the plan that your doctor doesn’t quite agree with, so you’ll be better off talking these things out before giving birth.

And remember, birth plans are not legal documents—they’re more like basic guidelines. Health and safety of mommy and baby always come first, so plans may change accordingly.

Ready to create yours? Use our birth plan tool.

By Paula Kashtan