What is a birth plan?
A birth plan is a simple, clear, one-page statement of an expectant mother’s preferences for her birth experience. Copies of a birth plan may be added to an expectant mother’s medical records, sent to the hospital or birth center, and/or given to the person who is acting as the pregnant woman’s birth coach.
What should be included in a birth plan?
The birth plan should include the patient’s name and due date, the primary support person for the patient in labor, the name of doula, if used, the hospital name where the delivery is to take place, and the name of the expectant mother’s midwife or doctor. The plan should indicate the expectant mother’s preferences during the stages of labor and delivery regarding:
- medical procedures during labor
- the positions that the mother wants to be in during labor
- fetal monitoring
- induction of labor
- pain relief techniques/anesthesia/hydrotherapy
- who should be in the delivery room (including who will be in the operating room if a caesarean section is necessary)
- newborn injections (Hepatitis B, vitamin K)
What are the benefits of having a birth plan?
A birth plan can inform health care providers about what an expectant mother is hoping for during labor and delivery. In addition, such a plan can help an expectant mother to feel confident and in control, as much as possible. A plan also can help her be part of the decision-making process, even when unexpected events occur. It is important to remember that this plan needs to be flexible to accommodate the unexpected.
- American Pregnancy Association. Creating Your Birth Plan. www.americanpregnancy.org Accessed 7/23/2012
- Kaufman, T. Evolution of the Birth Plan. The Journal of Perinatal Education. V.16(3); Summer 2007 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Accessed 7/23/2012
- March of Dimes Foundation. Get Ready for Labor. www.marchofdimes.com Accessed 7/23/2012
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 7/19/2012...#4091