Making a Birth Plan: Is That Why They Call It Labor?


pregnant woman writingAs your pregnancy progresses, you will be thinking about the actual birthing process. You may be dreaming of a simple and natural delivery, and you may also be afraid that something will go wrong. Everyone has thoughts about what a perfect delivery would be. And every mother-to-be has fears about the end of the pregnancy, about labor, and about the health of the baby.

You could say that the ideal for most prospective moms is a normal vaginal delivery, probably in a birthing center with a bedroom-like, comfortable, delivery room. Most would also like the practitioner that has been following them through their pregnancy be the one to deliver the baby.

Hopefully you have found an obstetrician that you like, and you have discussed whether she or a colleague might be the one to deliver your baby. Perhaps a midwife is going to help with the delivery, either at a birthing center or hospital. A home birth is also possible, but you may have to look a little harder for a healthcare provider who will help you.


You should make a birth plan, but remember that sometimes a plan cannot be followed.

If you want a completely natural childbirth with no medication, you may have picked a midwife or you may communicate this to your doctor. Ther are many ways to manage your labor pain, including breathing techniques, such as Lamaze and Bradley. There is also yoga, hypnosis, and calming music. Your partner can help you as well with massage and counter-pressure. You can walk, lie down, or find any position that increases your comfort. You can even have many family members with you. In birthing centers, you can often take a relaxing shower or even a bath. Water births are available in some birthing centers. Giving birth in a tub is supposed to be relaxing and natural for both the baby and the mother. If you want a water birth, you need to make sure your midwife or obstetrician is comfortable with your choice.

All of these choices can be fine if you have a low-risk pregnancy, if you yourself are healthy, and the labor proceeds without any problems.

Talk to some moms who have delivered this way. If you speak to enough women, including your friends and relatives, some of them will tell you that when labor got bad they wanted the pain medicine, NOW! It’s a joke you will see in television and movies, women in the active stage of labor screaming at their husbands and demanding pain medicine. The truth is that labor pains are called pains for a reason. Labor is long, exhausting, and very painful. If you want pain relief, you should not feel guilty. But if you want all those choices available, you need to be in a hospital with an obstetrician or a nurse midwife who works with an obstetrician. To get an epidural, which is probably the best pain control you can get, you need an anesthesiologist in the hospital. In some places, you have to speak with the anesthesiologist before you go into labor.

Labor pain is mainly from the contraction of the uterus, but also from the pressure of the baby as he or she moves down the birth canal. In early labor, when the cervix is slowly dilating, you can usually be up and walking. Pain medicine at this stage is often narcotics by vein or injection into muscle. This may make you a little sleepy, but it will help take the edge off the pain. Later, during active labor, an epidural may be your best choice. The anesthesiologist numbs a spot on your lower back and uses a needle to advance a small plastic tube into the space around your spinal cord and its coverings. He or she will then put a tiny amount of anesthetic and/or narcotic directly in. The tube stays in place so that more medicine can be added as your labor continues. Depending on what medicine is used and how perfectly it works, you may not feel your contractions. Or, you just may feel the pressure, but not pain. This does sometimes slow labor, but it is easier to tolerate. In the end, you can still help push out the baby. You are wide awake, and essentially none of the medicine has gotten to the baby.

You can continue with your labor plan. Maybe you want your husband to cut the cord, and then you want your baby placed on your chest. As long as you and the baby are well, the plan worked.

What do you think? Making a Birth Plan: Is That Why They Call It Labor?

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  1. Avatar of Jessica Jessica says:

    This is my 3rd child, and i never had a set birthing plan. I have gone with the flow in the past. I went all natural with my first 2 and it was a breeze, But i love the idea to have a plan so my doctors and my husband should know what i want.

  2. Avatar of Flo Flo says:

    I’m so scared of the pain during labor, but I don’t want to miss any of it and I don’t want to do a c-section just so not to feel it. I am glad my husband will be there with me.

  3. Avatar of Diana Diana says:

    Cant wait to have my baby i hope everything goes quick

  4. Avatar of Tina Tina says:

    I know labor isn’t going to be a breeze, but I hope things go smoothly.

  5. Avatar of Phammom Phammom says:

    Hoping for all natural. Expecting the worse hoping for the best.

  6. Avatar of Theresa Theresa says:

    I had come up with a birth pan, but it never made it to the doctor’s hand because my labor progressed very quickly. It was all natural though. I wanted it to be a natural birth all during my pregnancy. People told me i was crazy! But I did it before with my son, I can do it again! As active labor progressed, i said, "Screw it, give me the epidural!" But it was too late, the baby was coming, so I had no choice but go natural. I am happy now that i did.

  7. Avatar of monette3 monette3 says:

    There is so much to decide!

  8. Avatar of MamaDeeDee MamaDeeDee says:

    I had no plan with my first. I was induced, got an epidural, got IV meds, etc. The epidural was the worst experience of my life. It took three tries (the second one paralyzed me for a few hours), then it only numbed my left leg. The entire birthing experience was very traumatizing. I’m going all natural this time to avoid the cascade of interventions that has haunted me for the past 8 years.

  9. Avatar of Kristi Hair Kristi Hair says:

    This article helped me out some. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do for a birth plan.

  10. Avatar of MamaCat MamaCat says:

    Jen – I would say you and your husband are taking the best approach you can. You are prepared and you know that things don’t always go according to the "plan" we have in our heads. I think looking at your options is a great idea but I like that you aren’t tied to any one way of going about it. I think that will help you when the time comes so you don’t freak out if it doesn’t go EXACTLY as you might like.

  11. Avatar of Berenice Berenice says:

    This is a helping article.

  12. Avatar of Jen Jen says:

    My midwife has encouraged my husband and I to look into all the available birthing methods out there and to create a birth plan to prepare for the delivery, come July.

    Is it weird that neither my husband nor I are leaning toward any particular method?

    We are hoping for just a ‘normal’ natural birthing experience and don’t want to put too much thought into what method to use, as when it comes down to the actual labor it’s going to be intense and probably nothing like what we’re expecting at all (we’re first-time parents-to-be).

    We just don’t want to spend too much time worrying about what method to use when, as the article simply states: "…sometimes a plan cannot be followed."

  13. Birth plans, is new to me, we did not make a plan we just got ready, and went to the hospital. Where the doctors and other care givers in that area of the hospital took care of your needs until you went home.

  14. Avatar of verochka31 verochka31 says:

    scheduled 5th c-section…………….

  15. Back your bag, have phone numbers for emergency and alerting family. Off you go.

  16. Avatar of Shiloh JohnsonEditor Shiloh Johnson says:

    So glad you were able to find a birth plan that worked for you! We are currently creating our own birth plan tool as well that will walk you through it step by step :-)

  17. I printed out a birth plan from It was very easy to fill in and made the task less daunting.

  18. Avatar of Brandi Brandi says:

    I wrote out my whole birth plan and then asked my partner the same questions that I thought about while doing the birth plan…. I had to explain a lot of things for him, but he politely asked for several things that I was adamant about NOT doing or having done. It took us a while, but we finally got it hammered out. He got his way. It won’t hurt me any to have the baby in the room with me and waiting a few minutes to have the baby weighted and measured so he can scramble to tell everyone before she its is fine I guess. It is only a few minutes so Its not a big problem at all. I just had to lighten up. He gave me my way with everything else so I can give him those 2 things.

  19. Avatar of TriciaK7575 TriciaK7575 says:

    I’ve had 2 children, and am pregnant with my third. My first was all natural, no pain meds/epidural. My daughter was induced, so had Nubane, but also no epidural. My reasoning is simple…the recovery time is so much faster without an epidural. I’ve also seen two people (personally) recover from epidural, one was still experiencing numbness in her hands a year later, and my roommate in the hospital with my daughter still couldn’t get out of bed more than 12 hours after I got into the room. My brother met someone in physical therapy that had to learn to walk all over again after a complication from an epidural. I’ll deal with the pain thanks.

  20. Avatar of mellypie18 mellypie18 says:

    I’m blessed to have a very healthy pregnancy and have been going to a midwife. I decided to not take an epidural and have a completely natural birth. I’m just praying for a healthy birth with no medical interventions.

  21. Avatar of peaches0408 peaches0408 says:

    This is a very simple explanation..and very helpful. Oddly enough, I find the term "birth plan" a bit silly because these plans always change.. But it’s a good idea to share your hopes and expectations with your partner & doctor.

  22. Avatar of snearling214 snearling214 says:

    I will be getting an epidural and be induced 2 weeks before my due date as I am a high risk pregnancy and labor. The epidural will be given to me immediately since the pain would stress my heart too much. I really can’t complain since I’ll be feeling no pain at all and my baby should come out without any forseen complications =)

  23. I am getting an epidural! I had one before and I slept until the nurse came and woke me up to tell me that I was fully dilated and ready to push…it was the easiest labor and I have my fingers crossed that this time will be too!

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