By Cristina Mestre Ferrer BSc, MSc (embryologist).
Last Update: 01/23/2015

It’s advisable that the pregnant woman writes down her birth plan, so that her will regarding labour is expressed. In Spain this custom is not widely extended, even though every time there are more and more women who go to the hospital with their plan written down.

The protocol for labour mothers may be different depending on the hospital and doctor that takes care of the woman. Thanks to the labour plan, the will of the woman is written down, so that professionals have guidelines to do as she wishes.

Birth plan

What is the birth plan?

It’s the document in which the woman explains her wishes and expectations for the moment of labour. Any medical intervention requires that the patient is informed and gives her consent.

In the birth plan is written the kind of assistance that the pregnant woman wants during labour. According to law, this document must be followed, unless there’s an emergency.

This document must be written between week 28 and 32 with the help of medical professionals (midwife or doctor) if any doubt arises. The best would be to hand it in several weeks in advanced and explain it to the gynaecologist or midwife, just in case the mother has any doubts. She can also send it by certified post to the administration of her hospital.

Be it as it may, it’s important to have a document that certifies that it has been handed in to the centre. Nevertheless, if the woman goes with her plan when she is in labour, her wishes will be followed, if possible.

Advantages of birth plan

It’s a great help for the medical team to have all this information on the day of labour. It assures that the woman takes an active part in the birth of her child and improves the mother’s and partner’s comprehension of the process.

Benefits of the birt plan

It avoids that the woman has to explain her preferences the day of labour, taking into account that the anxiety and pain may make it difficult for the woman to make up her mind.

In the moment of labour, the woman can modify any of the preferences she wrote in the birth plan, depending on her mood and how the situation develops, which means, writing down the plan doesn’t necessary involve irrevocably refusing to any technique or procedure.

If any unforeseen circumstance should happen, health care providers would inform the patient and, after giving her consent, they would act in the way they considered best. The birth plan doesn’t interfere if any emergency should happen; it only gives information about the preferences of the pregnant woman.

The Health Department has a form that can be used as birth plan, after being filled up with the preferences of the mother.

Authors and contributors

 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information