What nurses need to know about birth plans


What’s in a birth plan?
A well-thought-out birth plan will often reflect the overwhelming number of choices that mothers are faced with during this important experience. A birth plan can be a tool for nurses to help their patients feel grounded and confident about delivery day.

So what’s in a birth plan? Here are some key elements, according to Rodriguez:

  • Where will the mother deliver—birth center, hospital or at home?
  • Who will attend—doctor or midwife?
  • What type of meds—prescribed pharmaceuticals or herbal remedies?
  • Pain management—relaxation techniques, environment/ambiance or epidural?
  • Surgical intervention—caesarean or episiotomy?
  • Information on whether the mother is low- or high-risk
  • The support team—doula, Dad, significant other, family and friends, etc.
  • Creation of a baby-friendly birth environment—plans for the baby’s initial examination, immediate skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding decisions
  • Recovery—necessary support in dealing with regular postpartum delivery issues and intervention options
  • Contingency plans—sometimes babies are sick, disabled or, even sadder, can die. Having a support team in place is imperative. A mother must know her rights to her child in health, in sickness and in death. The family must also know their rights to grieve and say goodbye.

Next: What is the nurse’s role? →


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