Birth plans: After 25 years, women still want to be heard: Commentary

  • Simkin P
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Abstract

Comments on an article by Yam et al (see record [rid]2007-04472-008[/rid]) describing their exploratory study of the introduction of birth plans to low-income women in Mexico. Although small and inconclusive, the authors made a notable effort to discover whether they could "improve quality of care and increase patient-practitioner communication" by assisting women to prepare birth plans and conducting training sessions on birth plans for all the practitioners who worked with the women. Ongoing training sessions in medical and nursing school and later, in which women's information and preferences are presented as a integral component of their own care are the key for changing the culture around choice and client participation. Women in all socioeconomic groups have little opportunity to communicate their preferences and concerns and expect them to be taken seriously. The low-income women in Mexico, who prepared a birth plan, found the process very satisfying, but their caregivers seemed to have paid little attention to their wishes. We see this in maternity care everywhere. Women's voices are largely ignored. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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  • Penny Simkin

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