SMART Goals for Childbirth


The mnemonic acronym SMART is often referred to in goal setting and reaching for entrepreneurs, management teams, operations departments, and other industries as well. Here it is applied it to setting a goal for birth. Remember when setting a goal for a birth that we are entitled to feel supported, researched and ready for the birth in whatever way suits us best but that we aren't entitled to the outcome. We can not control the uncontrollable and unpredictable, but we can have goals that can be reached regardless of outcome.

When setting a SMART goal for birth,

S-Specific  Specify what is is exactly you need to do during this birth to feel as ready as possible to be the best parent you can be.


  1. "To feel prepared for birth by educating myself about options, procedures and physiological experiences."
  2. "To feel supported by everyone around me, including my spouse, and by carefully choosing my care provider."


M-Measurable  Quantify or describe what it is you can do to to prepare for your goal. 


  1. Take a childbirth class.
  2. Hire a doula for professional support.


A-Alignment   Make sure the execution process is in alignment with your values, morals and personality style.

For example, if you are someone who gets overwhelmed with details and lots of information, a 12 week course for childbirth may not be the most helpful thing for you to do to prepare for birth. Possibly consider a briefer, 4 hour course, that focuses less on the details and information and more on the emotional and psychological side of birth.


  1. Take a class that matches your values, philosophies and opinions of birth.
  2. Hire a doula that supports you in your philosophy rather than imposing a philosophy.


R-Realistic   Make sure your goal is realistic.

This may seem obvious, but it really isn't for some things.  Be sure the environment you are giving birth in offers the things you are desiring.


  1. If you want to labor in a tub, pick a hospital or location that accommodates for this.
  2. If you want an epidural, pick a hospital that has anesthesiologists on staff 24/7.


T-Timely   Make a timeline. 

Most full term pregnancies last around 40-41 weeks. Use the 40 weeks to your advantage. You have 9 months to set your goal and think of the biggest outcome you desire from you birth, and then you get to be a parent! Put some sort of timeline on there for your goal, to give you a guide to follow and refer back to if things get busy, which they often do when preparing for parenthood.


  1. Take a childbirth class before the third trimester.
  2. Hire a doula during the second trimester so that she is available to me for questions and concerns throughout the pregnancy.


When setting a SMART goal for birth, keep in mind that the even though we can't predict the unpredictable, having a doula will provide a sense of comfort and predictability during this time.

What goals did you have for your birth? Share in the comments.