Women develop expectations about birthing and prepare for birth in a variety of ways, the use of a birth plan being one of them. There is little in the literature that provides evaluation of the effectiveness or otherwise of birth plans. This qualitative study, using semi-structured, tape recorded interviews, examines the labour and birthing experiences of a small group of women who accessed maternity care within the Private Health care sector. A birth plan was the communication tool that these women used to convey their birthing expectations to the health professionals caring for them. The findings of the study are confined to the Private Health care system where women choose maternity care expecting that the primary care giver is the obstetrician. They provide some insight into ways in which study participants gained information to make informed choices in labour and birth, their expectations and how they felt these were met. The women in this study valued birth plans as a tool for communication, because they provided a foundation for dialogue, choice and decision making. The establishment of and the support provided by a collaborative partnership between the woman, her support person, the midwife and the obstetrician was found to be a key element in how women perceived the birthing experience overall.
|Date of Award||Nov 2003|
|Supervisor||Bev Turnbull (Supervisor)|