What’s a birth plan and why is one beneficial?


If you and your partner are expecting a new baby, creating a birth plan is an excellent way to prepare for your little one’s birth.

A birth plan represents what is important to a mother and her partner during labor and birth. This includes both things you would and would not like during active labor, such as medications, aromatherapy, laboring tubs and more. St. Elizabeth Healthcare knows how deeply personal giving birth is, and we’re committed to helping you explore all of the birthing options available to you. A birth plan is a perfect way to keep track of your wishes.

“Even the simplest of birth plans can help prepare a woman for what is to come and what she can expect during labor,” says Kelly Ganster, MSN, APRN, CNM at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “It helps mothers become educated on options, creates communication between a mother and her support team, and builds a relationship between the families and the healthcare team.”

Birth plans: how do they work?

If seeing the certified nurse-midwives at St. Elizabeth Physicians Women’s Health, they will review your birth plan with you and your support person during a prenatal visit. It will also be scanned into your chart to ensure our team can quickly access it when you arrive at the hospital.

“We also instruct families to bring copies of the birth plan to the hospital when the mother goes into labor,” says Kelly. “The labor and delivery nurses will review your birth plan once you arrive and will make sure that the entire care team is aware of your desires.”

Of course, it’s important to remember that a birth plan is exactly that – a plan, not a guarantee. 

“There are circumstances that cause the plan to change and do not allow for all of the requests listed on a birth plan,” says Kelly. “Labor and birth are a fluid experience that require a constant re-evaluation of both maternal and fetal status.”

Birth plan tips

The St. Elizabeth labor and delivery team is committed to upholding your birth plan whenever possible. Our goal is to use your birth plan as a guide, having continuous communication with frequent check-ins on how things are progressing. An example of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare birth plan form can be found here

Kelly suggests the following tips when creating a birth plan:

  • Keep the plan simple and one page.
  • Bring any questions to each prenatal visit.
  • Avoid Google – when in doubt, ask your provider.
  • Have fun learning about labor and birth. It’s a unique and exciting time!

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a St. Elizabeth midwife, please call (859) 212-5125 today.