A birth plan is a written document outlining intentions for labour and birth. They are intended to outline what interventions to be offered (or not) during labour and in the hours post birth.
This is your record of Informed Consent or Refusal.
For many a birth plan is given 'lip service', it is part of the tick-box approach to birth preparation. There are many free 'proforma' plans available, and these may be helpful for setting out your plan, but it is the research that you put into the plan that makes it Informed.
**A Birth Plan is not essential for everyone:
Informed Birth Preparation is.**
The process of Informed Birth Preparation:
considers various scenarios well before the due date
uses information from evidence-based sources, your own medical circumstances and history, and your personal circumstances and feelings.
Familiarises your support team with your decisions, so they can stand by you as you labour and birth on your terms.
Image Courtesy of Hannah at Wikimedia Commons.
Your birth plan makes it clear what you need generally, but most importantly contains informed consent or refusal for various procedures...even those you don't expect.
By negotiating and determining in advance the circumstances where certain procedures may (or may not) be considered, you can relax and concentrate on birthing.
There are many optional, but routine, procedures that need to be considered in advance and require informed consent or refusal.
In order to make Informed Decisions, you need to:
Identify your expectations
Build your general knowledge
Seek evidence-based information
An Informed Birth Plan consists of three parts:
In Case of Deviation
The informed plan protects you from on the spot decisions, especially if you birth other than expected. You will be more likely to recognise and understand any deviations from expectation, and respond calmly and appropriately having made informed decisions in advance.