Why have Plan for Birth?
Maternity care in Australia includes antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care for women and their babies.
A Plan for Birth is a documented record of you preferences for your maternity care.
Trust is essential as your experience of maternity care will influence the outcomes of your birth, the success of your mothering career, and the long-term wellness of your child. Discussion of your preferences with your health professional builds trust. A health professional for maternity care may be a Midwife, General Practitioner or Obstetrician
A Plan is one way of communicating with your health professionals. The Plan is a chance to raise and discuss your wishes. Discussion of your preferences helps build a trusting relationship and provides insight into areas of further conversation before labour begins.
A Plan is a way to make clear your care preferences so that they can be respected – even in situations where a health practitioner states you are too unwell to understand your care treatment choices or to communicate what you want. It is expected that a health professional will respect your preferences expressed in a Plan, taking into account the clinical situation at the time.
How to write a Plan for Birth
- Educate yourself about pregnancy and birth.
- Think about your values, beliefs, preferences and what kind of outcomes from maternity services you want. What would be unacceptable for you?
- Write down your preferences in a Birth Plan.
- Discuss your Birth Plan with your health professional. This ensures you understand all your options and the implications and the health professional clearly knows your preferences.
- As a record of the discussion, sign and date your Birth Plan and ask your health professional to sign and date the Birth Plan.
- Think about who might be best to speak on your behalf – your partner / support person. Talk to them about your Birth Plan. This will help them support you. Ask them to ensure you are included in any care decision. The following questions are helpful when deciding what to do.
- Why are you recommending this test / procedure / intervention?
- What are the consequences – risks and benefits – of having this intervention?
- What are the alternative options?
- What if I do nothing?
- Give a copy of your Birth Plan to your support person, your health professional and your birth facility / hospital.