Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Nursing

Advisor(s)

Erika Sawin-Metzler

Karen Silveira

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this research paper is to investigate existing research for the relationship between birth plans and maternal satisfaction of the labor and birth experience.

Design: The research found and utilized in this paper is formulated into a literature review format and includes research obtained from a focus group of midwives.

Population/Sample: The population of the research obtain for this literature review consisted of pregnant women (at various stages of their pregnancy, labor, and birth) and post-partum women whom had prepared written birth plans.

Variables Studied: Maternal satisfaction of expectant mothers with their personal labor and birth experience compared to their intimal birth plan was the key variable studied within this research.

Method: Research articles were obtained from PubMed, CINAHL Plus, and MEDLINE databases. The date of publication of articles was allotted to within the last ten years. Research was limited to English-only articles, both based inside and outside of the U.S. A focus group of midwives were interviewed and included in research as well.

Findings: There is not a substantial amount of research that exist on birth plans. Research shows that pain management is most important to expectant mothers and mothers are generally satisfied with the pain management they receive. Surgical innervations are commonly included in birth plans; however, research does not support the myth that birth plans place women at a higher risk for a cesarean birth or poorer obstetric outcomes. Finally, location and the chosen health care provider play a vital role in maternal satisfaction. If one or both of these changes during labor or birth, the mother most remain informed and be given some control in the decision making when applicable.

Implications: Education must be provided to expecting mothers on not only how to write a birth plan, but also on labor and birth as a whole. All health care providers should acknowledge and respect a woman’s birth plan to provide her better patient-centered care which, in turn, leads to greater maternal satisfaction. Nurses, in particular, play a vital role in keeping the mother informed and educated throughout situational changes that occur during labor and birth that may infringe on her original birth plan. More research must be done to continue to advance the knowledge of implications that birth plans can have for expectant mothers.

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