Finding a way forward for the birth plan and maternal decision making: A discussion paper

Catherine H Bell, Hannah G Dahlen, Deborah Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


In maternity services, there is increasing focus on birth trauma. Birth trauma can occur when the experience is traumatic for the woman for whatever reason, for example, when emergency measures are required to assist the woman or her baby. Birth trauma and disappointment with the birth can also occur when women do not feel involved in the decision making during the labour and birth, feel unheard or lack control over what is happening to them (Cook and Loomis, 2012). Involving women gives them a sense of control, which reduces the potential of a negative impact, particularly when the birth does not go as expected (Cook and Loomis, 2012). Access to reliable and appropriate information increases sense of control and confidence in decision making, reducing stress and anxiety. When women are involved in difficult choices, research suggests that the relationship quality with the care provider and the level of information helps reduce negative impacts (Botti et al., 2009). Being respected and able to make decisions about their care is not only a fundamental human right but is critical for the overall quality of their childbearing experience (White Ribbon Alliance, 2011).
Original languageEnglish
Article number103806
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
Early online date9 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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