Creating Your Visual Birth Plan

A birth plan is a short document to take with you to Labor and Delivery that lets the providers there know what your preferences are during labor.  It is important to keep your birth plan simple and easy to understand. Providing a copy to all those involved with your labor can eliminate miscommunication, help labor go smoother, and keep your wishes from being dismissed.

A visual birth plan is a great way to do this!  By using simple icons to depict your wishes, you let those around you know what you’d like and not like during labor and for your child during recovery.  A friend of mine introduced me to this idea, and when I asked how it worked out she said, “My husband had seen my plan and he and my doula spoke up for me since I came to the hospital already in transition and fought for the birth I had wanted. I really believe the super simple plan helped him understand my wishes better and because of him majorly sticking up for what he knew I wanted when I couldn’t, no one messed with me and I got the birth I wanted.”

Her Visual Birth Plan was an inspiration, and I have created my very own!

CombatBootMama Visual Birth Plan

Pretty neat, right?

A Visual Birth Plan was a lot easier to do than I thought it would be!  Here’s how I did it:

1.  I found the icons for the plan on Imgur, and you can download all 57 of those images by clicking here.  The icons include a wide variety of options and your plan will be completely customizable!  They were originally made by Seanna for the BabyBumps group on Reddit!  She did a great job making the icons easy to understand, and includes a lot of options. You can check out her page here.

2. I opened Microsoft Power Point on my desk top.  I added my personalized message to my providers by using a text box positioned at the top of the slide.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.43.49 PM

3. I added each Icon that I wanted to the presentation by selecting “Insert Picture.”  Then, I made sure that they were all the same size by formatting each picture to be 1.5″ wide and 1.5″ tall.  You can do this by right clicking on each icon and select “Format Picture.” Then go to the “Size” page and change the Height and Width to 1.5″ each.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.48.10 PM

4. I then changed the colors of my icons to make it more fun and inviting.  You can also leave them the red and green colors found in the original icons.

To change the colors of the icons, right click on the image you want to change and select Format Picture.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.33.50 PM


Then select “Recolor” from your Picture formatting tab in your Formatting Palette.  You can choose a color from the list or select a custom color as well.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 10.34.03 PM


5. I saved my presentation to my computer.  Once I need it, I can print it out and take it with me! Simply print the presentation with one slide per page and it will print beautifully!


Did you make a birth plan for your birth? What did it look like?  Share your pictures with us at we would love to feature them on our Facebook page!




  1. Seanna

    Hey there Pvt. Mama! 🙂

    These birth plan icons were made by me, originally for my lovely ladies at /r/BabyBumps on Would you be so kind as to add a link to my user profile there as credit? I’d appreciated it! If you’d like proof via email, I can certainly do that.

    aka slidewithme

    • M.

      Thank you so much for making the icons! They are really fantastic! I’ll be sure to add a credit. They were really great to work with!

      • Seanna

        Absolutely! I also make graphical birth plans, from simple to gorgeous, for free using these icons (for any expecting mommies). You can link up my email if anyone is interested:

        Here’s a new, working link to the album!

    • vayda

      hi seanna i absolutly love these icons but just wondering if it is possible to change the text on some as there a few other things not included in your list i am wanting to add to my birth plan.

  2. S. L. Saboviec

    Love this! It was posted in our birth group on Baby Center Canada, so I rushed over here to check it out. However, that link to the 57 images isn’t working. 😦 Do you have an updated one?

  3. Susan

    Love the idea of a simplified birth plan! As I am due in 9 weeks, I am planning to put mine together as well – and a bit different than with number one. I tried to open the link, however it tells me that it’s a wrong link or the pictures have been removed 😦 Would be great if you could share those somewhere, or if you found them somewhere else (I have been searching the net, without success till now … ).

  4. bellabirth (Catherine Bell)

    A marvellous way to present a birth plan….but be sure to take the time to investigate your options and discuss them with your care providers. No matter how well you present your plan, it is the planNING that is important. Making sure you understand the evidence behind each preference and that your care providers will support it. Making sure your birth team understand the plan and know how you expect them to ‘behave’.

    • M.

      Thank you for your comments! Informed consent and refusal is so important during prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postnatal care. I hope that we can encourage women to be knowledgable and empowered about their health.


  5. bellabirth

    Reblogged this on bellabirth: informed birth and parenting and commented:
    A marvellous, and novel, way to present a birth plan….but be sure to take the time to investigate your options and discuss them with your care providers. No matter how well you present your plan, it is the planNING that is important. Making sure you understand the evidence behind each preference and that your care providers will support it. Making sure your birth team understand the plan and know how you expect them to ‘behave’. A successful birth plan takes more than a pretty picture. ..a successful plan is an INFORMED one. How you present that plan is entirely up to you, and this simple icon approach is very valid. The written plan needn’t be more than a few simple statments regarding the points where informed consent (or refusal) is required. The contingency plan is likely to be more serious, and perhaps not appropriate to be ‘cute’.

    This icon image approach highlights the importance of simplicity. Your plan is NOT an essay. It is not a wish list. It is a serious document. Your choices matter, and need to be made known (in advance, and on the day), especially when you are making informed refusal of routine procedures. Birth is not a procedure. Birth is a rite of passage. And it should be on your terms.

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  7. Seanna

    Hey there!

    I have a new update on the birth plan icons. I created a whole site for them due to overwhelming requests, and I’d love it if you could share the link in your original post here.


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  9. Ashley

    Thank you for posting your how-to! I’ve been searching for a way to make my own visual birth plan, and this was so simple! I just wish I had PowerPoint and not just Keynote (I’ve got a MacBook Pro), because I can’t change the color of the images. I’ve still got some time, so I’m going to be looking for a way to do that, but for now I’ve at least got it formatted. Thanks again!

  10. Amanda

    Imgur is not letting me download these. Although this post has made it easy in terms of instructions, I have been trying all day to download the icons. Any suggestions?

    • M.

      It is a large album from Imgur. After clicking on “download” on the right hand side, it should prompt you to enter your email address. Imgur will send you an email when your album is ready to download. I hope that helps. Here’s the link to the creator’s website as well, she may be able to assist as well!

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  13. Melissa

    I created a birth plan using the one provided by Earth Mama Angel Baby. It’s about 5 pages long. I’ve already had one midwife look at it. After seeing a few of these plans with the icons, I created one to print out to take to the hospital with me. I like that it’s one page and will give the staff an idea of what I want. I’ll also have copies of my other plan for anyone who has time to read through it. 🙂

  14. hmtowne

    Reblogged this on Simply Homemade Mom and commented:
    I didn’t have a birth plan for either of my children’s births. I kind of thought they were unnecessary because birth is kind of unpredictable and doesn’t always go according to plan. However, when I saw this post I thought it was such a neat idea! It kind of helped me to see how simple (or complicated, as the case may be..) a birth plan can be. All a birth plan does is outline the wishes of the parents and gets everybody on their support team on the same page. Did you have a birth plan with your child(ren)’s birth? Do you plan to in the future? If we do have more kids in the future, I definitely think that this would be a great idea.


  15. Lindsey Baker

    THIS IS AMAZING!! So much more reader friendly than an overwhelming long list!! Thanks to Seanna for creating and sharing the icons for free and thanks Combat Boot Mama for putting together a great tutorial! I will definitely start this right away since I’m due in 8 weeks!!! I also plan to try to make a few addition icons that aren’t in the set (like a doula icon) so that it can match and I can have it on my birth plan. I love having this option!!

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