Evaluating Birth Plans: Valuable Insight or Unrealistic Expectations?

7m of CPD
Birth plans have become a popular way of helping patients express their choices during labour and delivery, yet they are not universally welcomed. On the one hand, they can be a valuable tool to guide caregivers in supporting a patient’s choices, but on the other, they may also lead to unrealistic expectations and disappointment with the birthing experience. So, is the use of birth plans supported by current research? And if so, what information should a birth plan contain?

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What is this article about?

Many patients choose to create a formal plan to help improve their birthing experience. Birth plans are easy to write, and instructions on what to include can easily be found on the internet, in pregnancy books or in some antenatal clinics.


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Meet the educator

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Anne Watkins
Anne is a freelance lecturer and medical writer at Mind Body Ink. She is a former midwife and nurse teacher with over 25 years’ experience working in the fields of healthcare, stress management and medical hypnosis. Her background includes working as a hospital midwife, Critical Care nurse, lecturer in Neonatal Intensive Care, and as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for a company making life support equipment. Anne has also studied many forms of complementary medicine and has extensive experience in the field of clinical hypnosis. She has a special interest in integrating complementary medicine into conventional healthcare settings and is currently an Associate Tutor, lecturing in Health Coaching and Medical Hypnosis at Exeter University in the UK. As a former Midwife, Anne has a natural passion for writing about fertility, pregnancy, birthing and baby care. Her recent publications include The Health Factor, Coach Yourself To Better Health and Positive Thinking For Kids. You can read more about her work at
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What do others think?

122 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Portrait of susan margaret miller
susan miller
08 Mar 2021
a quick and honest view of the use of a birth plan for today's pregnant women
Stephanie Howell
16 Jan 2021
very excellent summary of what a birth plan should entail: What will I do to stay confident and feel safe? What will I do to find comfort in response to my contractions? Who will support me through labour, and what will I need from them?
Portrait of Sharryn-Lea Fay Swanson
Sharryn-Lea Swanson
04 Feb 2021
This article was easy to read, provide valuable information, and gave the reader an idea of whether a birthing plan is valuable in labor.
11 Oct 2020
Portrait of Helen PARK
Helen PARK
01 Apr 2021
Worth doing this update for all midwives and Maternal and Child Health nurses.
Kylie Kylie
30 Apr 2021
Excellent information and very quick and easy knowledge gained
Jennifer Mather
30 Mar 2021
Useful succinct and informative
Lynee White
18 Oct 2020
Valuable tool in the understanding of why patients have birth plans.
ashlo ashlo
11 May 2021
Portrait of Olivia Czislowski
Olivia Czislowski
11 May 2021
Interesting read
4.2 / 5
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